China’s ‘blue skies’ dreams mean red flags for industrial metals: Andy Home

By Andy Home | LONDON “We will make our skies blue again”. That was the rallying call issued by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the start of the country’s annual meeting of parliament. Any lingering doubts that air pollution has moved to the very top of Beijing’s political agenda should be dispelled. Targets have been set to reduce pollution in Beijing and Tianjin as well as 26 other cities in the provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong and Henan. Detailed instructions have been issued for everything from installing monitoring stations for car emissions at heavily used junctions to “boiler remediation”, including the elimination of all coal-fired stoves. Compliance is mandatory, Chinese style. “Officials who do a poor job in enforcing the law, knowingly allow environmental violations, or respond inadequately to worsening air quality will be held accountable,” Li warned. In essence, the ambition is to eliminate coal usage in the “2+26” cities and dramatically cut the emission of just about every other pollutant. One component of “The 2017 Work Plan for the Prevention and Control of Air Pollution” has already sent the aluminum price soaring as analysts try to work out the implications of enforced capacity cuts over the winter heating

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