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Watch: Beijing’s winter clampdown on steel is the real deal

Almost every year, the Chinese government unveils some unexpected policy that rocks the steel markets.

In 2016, it implemented restrictions on the number of working days at coal mines, sending coking coal prices soaring past the $300/mt mark and hurting steel spreads. In June this year, it cracked down on induction furnace-based steel. The move supported rebar prices and freed up scrap volumes. But Paul Bartholomew, senior managing editor for steel policy and industries, says the biggest story of 2017 is just unfolding.

China has turned an unprecedented corner with its plans to curb steel production over November-March for environmental reasons – and it isn’t going back. Domestic and international steel players will need to evaluate the market implications for what is set to be an annual event.