SHANGHAI, China (AP) — Winter storms that have paralyzed much of southern and central China are hitting the wider economy, as steel mills and other factories cut production amid shortages of coal and other materials.
Specialty steelmaker Hunan Valin Steel Tube & Wire Co., a local partner of industry leader ArcelorMittal, said Friday that it has suspended some production because of a shortage of power.
Scores of other steel mills, from southern China's Guangdong province to Xinjiang in the northwest, have cut or stopped production, according to the industry Web site mysteel.com.
Hunan Valin, in a notice to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, said it expected power shortages to improve within days and that it was using the work stoppages to conduct maintenance.
Unusually heavy snow and prolonged cold have slowed transport systems, preventing deliveries of coal and other raw materials. Steelmakers and electricity generators are running short of coal, while power lines and transmission towers have collapsed, aggravating power shortages.
With more snow falling in south-central China's Hunan province, where Hunan Valin is based, it was unclear how soon normal coal and power supplies would be restored.
Shanghai-based Baoshan Iron & Steel Co., China's biggest steel maker, did not appear to be affected so far by the power shortages.
But more than 50 others in eastern China and elsewhere were cutting production because of power rationing, shortages of coal and other raw materials and blocked transport, mysteel.com said.
The Web site estimated the production lost at 500,000 tons for hot rolled steel, 800,000 tons for steel construction materials and 150,000 tons for medium-thick steel sheets.