Sep 14, 2021 01:31 AM

Energy Insider: Steel Prices Rise as Production Limits Tighten

In today’s Caixin energy news wrap: China’s monthly new-energy vehicle sales set record in August; Tesla raises Model Y price 2.6% in China; battery makers bet big on next generation of car batteries

Steel prices rise as localities tighten output limits

East China’s Jiangsu province restricted steel production amid a nationwide campaign to reduce energy consumption and pollution, leading to a surge in steel prices last week. Despite weaker-than-expected demand from construction, steel prices are expected to continue rising, according to industry information portal

NEV sales top record 320,000 in August

China’s new-energy vehicle (NEV) sales in August set a monthly record of more than 320,000 units in a single month, a 182% increase from last year even as overall auto sales fell 17.8% year-on-year, according to newly released data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. NEVs accounted for 17.8% of August’s vehicle sales, approaching the government’s 2025 target of 20%. The association estimated that the goal may be achieved ahead of schedule.

Tesla raises Model Y price 2.6% amid surging sales

Tesla raised the price of its Model Y Performance car by 10,000 yuan ($1,552), or 2.6%, to 387,900 yuan in China. It sold 152,531 cars in China this year through the end of August, surpassing its total for all of last year.

Chinese battery makers pile into next-generation sodium-ion battery

Nearly 30 Chinese battery companies and several local governments are moving to tap into sodium ion battery businesses amid the boom in demand for electric vehicle batteries. The new type is considered an alternative to the dominant lithium battery, which depends on expensive lithium. In July, Chinese battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. unveiled its first-generation sodium ion battery.

Fulin Precision to expand lithium battery material business

Mianyang Fulin Precision Co. Ltd. (300432.SZ), a Chinese auto parts manufacturer, plans to pay 333 million yuan ($51.6 million) to buy 9% of lithium extractor Qinghai Hengxinrong Co. Ltd. from an individual shareholder, the company said. Fulin Precision intends to acquire a further 25% by making a capital injection. Based in lithium-rich Qinghai province, Hengxinrong has lithium carbonate production capacity of 20,000 tons a year. The transactions represent a further step in the company’s lithium battery expansion. In July, Fulin Precision said its subsidiary Fulin Shenghua, a supplier to battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., would invest 4 billion yuan in a lithium iron phosphate production project.

Vehicles become the biggest source of urban air pollution in China

Vehicles became the greatest source of air pollution in China’s large and medium-sized cities, causing particulate pollution and smog, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said in a report. In 2020, domestic vehicles emitted 15.93 million tons of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, nitric oxide, and particulate matters, 90% of it from cars.

China-ASEAN trade kept expanding in last decade

The General Administration of Customs of China published the first index of trade Saturday between China and the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The index read 241.09% for 2020, up from 141.09% in 2010, indicating steady growth in trade volume. Last year the ASEAN bloc became China’s biggest trading partner. In the first eight months this year, China’s foreign trade with ASEAN nations reached 3.59 trillion yuan ($560 billion), up 22.8% year-on-year and contributing 14.5% of China’s total foreign trade volume.

Jolywood to launch 2 gigawatts of solar panel auxiliary materials projects

Jolywood Co. Ltd. (300393.SZ ), the world’s largest maker of solar panel backsheets, said its subsidiary Ordos Jolywood plans to launch photovoltaic auxiliary material projects with 2 gigawatts of production capacity in Ordos City, Inner Mongolia. The first phase of the project will be based on existing plants and equipment from its Taizhou subsidiary.

World’s first modular high-temperature gas-cooled reactor in operation

Unit 1 of Huaneng Group’s Shidaowan high-temperature gas-cooled reactor started operation Sunday. It will connect to electrical grid later this year. The 200,000-kilowatt reactor, based in East China’s Shandong province, started construction nine years ago and is the world’s first modular high-temperature gas-cooled Generation IV reactor.

Freight shipping rates for China-U.S. routes soar to $25,000

Global freight shipping rates reached a record high, reflecting rising demand for the holiday season and spotty port operations amid the pandemic. The Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI) jumped 457% to 4,568.16 last week from 820 at last year’s low. China-to-U.S. shipping rates soared to as much as $25,000 per twenty foot-equivalent unit from $1,500 before the pandemic, reflecting speculation and shortages of shipping space. According to Clarksons Research, Chinese ship operators own 10,603 vessels with a total capacity of 216 million tons. The fleet accounts for 15% of global shipping capacity, behind Greece’s 17%.

Contact editors Han Wei ( and Bob Simison (

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