1 BANK OF CHINA: BEIJING TO STEADILY EXPAND CROSS-BORDER USE OF YUAN IN 2021 WWW.RT.COM PUBLISHED:2021/09/20      2 UVS LAKE DEPRESSION BECOMES TRANSBOUNDARY BIOSPHERE RESERVE WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2021/09/20      3 AUSTRALIA APPROVES CONTROVERSIAL WHITEHAVEN COAL MINE EXPANSION WWW.MINING.COM PUBLISHED:2021/09/19      4 COVID-19: 2,777 NEW CASES, 12 DEATHS REPORTED WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2021/09/19      5 CHINESE COMPANIES TO HELP BUILD HYDROPOWER PLANT IN W. MONGOLIA WWW.XINHUANET.COM PUBLISHED:2021/09/19      6 CHINA-MONGOLIA BORDER PORT SEES ROBUST GROWTH IN FREIGHT TRANSPORT WWW.NEWS.CGTN.COM PUBLISHED:2021/09/19      7 US-CHINA INFLUENCE RIVALRY MOVES INTO BEIJING'S BACKYARD WWW.VOANEWS.COM  PUBLISHED:2021/09/19      8 EBRD AND EU SUPPORT BETTER WASTE MANAGEMENT IN ULAANBAATAR WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2021/09/19      9 CENTRAL BANK DECIDES TO MAINTAIN POLICY RATE AT 6 PERCENT WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2021/09/19      10 IRON ORE PRICE COLLAPSES BELOW $100 AS CHINA EXTENDS ENVIRONMENT CURBS WWW.MINING.COM PUBLISHED:2021/09/19      ҮСХ: ЗАСГИЙН ГАЗРЫН ӨР ОНЫ ЭХНИЙ ХАГАС ЖИЛД 4.5 ХУВИАР ӨСӨЖ, 27.1 ИХ НАЯД ТӨГРӨГ БОЛОВ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2021/09/20     МОНГОЛ БАНК: ӨРХИЙН ӨРИЙН ТҮВШИН АЛГУУР НЭМЭГДЭЖ БАЙНА WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2021/09/20     “INNER MONGOLIA POWER GROUP” IX/5-НЫ БАЙДЛААР “ОЮУ ТОЛГОЙ” УУРХАЙД 10 ТВТ ЭРЧИМ ХҮЧ НИЙЛҮҮЛЖЭЭ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2021/09/20     “НАМРЫН НОГООН ӨДРҮҮД-2021” ҮЗЭСГЭЛЭН ХУДАЛДААНЫ ЭХНИЙ ГУРВАН ӨДӨРТ НОГООЧИД 214 САЯ ТӨГРӨГИЙН БОРЛУУЛАЛТ ХИЙЖЭЭ WWW.IKON.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2021/09/20     МОНГОЛ УЛС НҮБ-ЫН ЭНХИЙГ САХИУЛАХ АЖИЛЛАГААНД ЦЭРЭГ ИЛГЭЭГЧ 122 ОРНООС 24 ДҮГЭЭРТ ЖАГСАЖ БАЙНА WWW.IKON.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2021/09/20     АИ-95 БЕНЗИНИЙ ҮНИЙГ ЛИТР ТУТАМД 200 ТӨГРӨГӨӨР НЭМЖЭЭ WWW.GOGO.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2021/09/20     НӨАТ-ЫН СУГАЛААГААР 3 САЯ ТӨГРӨГИЙН ХОЁР АЗТАН ТОДОРЛОО WWW.EAGLE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2021/09/20     ШИНЭЭР 2851 ТОХИОЛДОЛ БҮРТГЭГДЭЖ, 11 ХҮН ЭНДЖЭЭ WWW.EAGLE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2021/09/20     IX САР ГАРСААР “CENTURY” БОНДЫН ХАНШИЙН ӨСӨЛТ СААРСАН Ч ӨНДӨР ТҮВШИНД ХЭЛБЭЛЗЭЛЖ БАЙНА WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2021/09/19     ЗАСГИЙН ГАЗРЫН ӨР 27.1 ИХ НАЯД ТӨГРӨГТ ХҮРЭВ WWW.NEWS.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2021/09/19    

Events

Name organizer Where
14th Mine Closure 2021 International Conference in Ulaanbaatar (first time in Asia) QMC Ulaanbaatar

NEWS

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Bank of China: Beijing to steadily expand cross-border use of yuan in 2021 www.rt.com

China is planning to “steadily and prudently” promote internationalization of its currency, the yuan, the country’s central bank said, pledging to strengthen the monitoring of cross-border capital flows and prevent systemic risks.
According to the regulator, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement is expected to further boost trade ties between the nations in the Asia-Pacific region, thus promoting more opportunities for the use of the yuan in mutual settlements and investment activities.
The pact was clinched in late 2020 at a virtual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations hosted by Vietnam.Based on rapidly developing yuan-denominated commodity trade settlements, the Chinese government is reportedly seeking to increase the use of the currency in cross-border e-commerce.
The People’s Bank of China added that it is planning to explore more options for yuan-denominated investment and financing. The regulator will also step up currency settlement cooperation with other countries, and improve the infrastructure for settlement and clearing.
International payments made in the local currency amounted to 28.39 trillion yuan ($4.39 trillion) in 2020, surging 44.3% compared to the previous year, the regulator said. Meanwhile, cross-border settlements made in yuan reportedly accounted for 46.2% of overall international payments, hitting an all-time high.
Beijing has been trying to expand the influence of the yuan across the globe since 2009 to eliminate the reliance on the US dollar in trade and investment settlements, as well as to challenge the greenback’s status as the world’s major reserve currency.
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Uvs Lake Depression becomes Transboundary Biosphere Reserve www.montsame.mn

Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on September 15 added 20 new sites in 21 countries to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, which now numbers 727 biosphere reserves in 131 countries, including 22 transboundary sites. The International Coordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB-ICC) meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, from September 13 to 17 approved these additions. Uvs Lake Depression has therefore been designated as a Transboundary Biosphere Reserve.
Situated on the border of the Russian Federation, the 335,000 ha Uvs Lake, the largest in Mongolia, is encircled by the semi-arid foothills of the southern Altay Mountains. Uvs has a flat shallow basin, which makes it a natural salt lake.
The Uvs Lake Depression, a core area of the Altay Sayan global eco-region, is part of the newly designated transboundary biosphere reserve, which extends over a vast 2,242,112.70 ha, bridging two entire biomes of the Siberian taiga and Mongolian steppes. The site provides habitat to emblematic species such as the Argali sheep, snow leopard, Altay ibex, as well as migratory birds.
The transboundary biosphere reserve brings together Uvs Nuur Basin Biosphere Reserve, on the Mongolian side, and Ubsunorskaya Kotlovina Biosphere Reserve, on the Russian side, both of which were designated in 1997.
Work to join the two biosphere reserves began in 2011 with the creation of a joint coordinating body, which carried out participatory workshops and meetings to foster transboundary nature conservation. Ten years on, this long-term cooperation allowed for the establishment of a model region straddling the two countries.
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Australia approves controversial Whitehaven coal mine expansion www.mining.com

Coal miner Whitehaven (ASX: WHC) has been granted the green light to expand its Vickery project in New South Wales despite a global push to lower carbon emissions and a historic court ruling on authorities’ obligation to children to consider environmental harm before approving coal projects.
Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley’s decision comes just six weeks before world leaders meet for the United Nations Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, where Australia is being pressed to announce tougher emissions reduction targets.
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“In approving the mine, Minister Ley has turned her back on the federal court, the international scientific consensus on climate change, and the children and young people of Australia,” Ava Princi, an 18-year-old from Sydney who was one of the eight students who brought the case against the expansion, said in an emailed statement.
“Once again Sussan Ley proves she’s the minister against the environment, not for,” said Australian Greens environment spokesperson, Sarah Hanson-Young. “Expanding coal in the middle of the climate crisis is madness.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has so far resisted international pressure to commit to net zero emissions by 2050, ruling out charging polluters by setting a price on carbon.
Vickery’s expansion approval, published Thursday, is the second coal project Ley has given her blessing to in the past two weeks and comes amid reports of large financial institutions officially withdrawing funds for the sector.
It also follows a study showing that emissions from coal mined in Australia, but exported and burned overseas, almost doubled the nation’s domestic greenhouse gas footprint in 2020.
The research by energy industry consultancy group Kayrros showed the Bowen Basin, which straddles the border between the states of New South Wales and Queensland, released an average of 1.6 million tonnes a year of methane in 2019 and 2020.
Based on government data, total emissions in Australia, the world’s biggest coal exporter, totalled 499 million tonnes in 2020.
20 more years
Whitehaven noted that 62% of 560 public submissions received were in favour of the project going ahead. It also said that Ley had attached 37 conditions to her approval.
“Against the current backdrop of record high coal prices and strong demand in seaborne markets, the company sees a continuing role for high-quality coal of the type Vickery will produce in contributing to global CO2 emissions reduction and containment efforts while simultaneously supporting economic development in our near region,” the company said.
Whitehaven says the project, approved by NSW planning authorities in August 2020, will extend the life of the mine by more than 20 years. The mine will produce mostly metallurgical coal for steel making, though it will also generate thermal coal, destined for premium export markets.
It involves the construction of an open-cut coal mine and associated on-site infrastructure situated 25km north of Gunnedah. The expansion will double coal production capacity to 10 million tonnes of both kinds of coal.
With a capital investment estimated at $498 million, the project is also expected to create 500 construction jobs and 450 positions during the operational phase.
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COVID-19: 2,777 new cases, 12 deaths reported www.montsame.mn

The Ministry of Health reported today, September 19 that 2,777 new cases of COVID-19 have been detected in the past 24 hours. More specifically, 1,357 new cases were detected in the capital city, with 1,417 cases in rural regions.
As of today, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Mongolia now stands at 275,146. In the past 24 hours 6,566 patients have made recoveries.
Furthermore, 12 new COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, raising the country’s death toll to 1035. Currently, 21,391 people are receiving hospital treatment for COVID-19 whilst 52,205 people with mild symptoms of COVID-19 are being isolated at home.
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Chinese companies to help build hydropower plant in W. Mongolia www.xinhuanet.com

Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia signed an agreement on Friday to build a hydropower plant in the western part of the country with Chinese companies, according to Mongolia's energy ministry.
The Power Construction Corporation of China (PowerChina), along with PowerChina Chengdu Engineering Corp Ltd, will build the Erdeneburen hydropower plant on Khovd River in the Erdeneburen soum (administrative subdivision) of Khovd province in the coming five years, with a soft loan from the Chinese government, the Ministry of Energy said in a statement.
The 90-megawatt hydropower plant is considered crucial to ensuring long-term energy supplies to western Mongolia and laying the foundation for the development of renewable energy in the region.
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China-Mongolia border port sees robust growth in freight transport www.news.cgtn.com

The import and export values of goods transported via the border port of Erenhot in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region posted a yearly increase of 38.2 percent to reach 22.04 billion yuan (about 3.42 billion U.S. dollars) in the first eight months of this year, local customs said Friday.
The import volume registered 15.34 billion yuan during the period, increasing by 41.9 percent year on year, while that of the exports totaled 6.7 billion yuan, up 30.4 percent year on year, said the customs of Erenhot.
The rapid import growth shows China's steady economic recovery since the beginning of this year. Meanwhile, the rising trend of the global market price for bulk commodities is another factor driving the growth.
In terms of exports, the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on Mongolia's domestic production capacity, making it more dependent on imports from China. In the first eight months of this year, China's exports of mechanical and electrical products to Mongolia increased by 57.5 percent as a result of Mongolia's increasing demand for mine equipment.
Erenhot Port, the only railway port between China and Mongolia and a substantial channel for international cargo, has around 50 China-Europe freight train routes passing through it.
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US-China Influence Rivalry Moves Into Beijing's Backyard www.voanews.com

WASHINGTON — As China spreads its influence across Asia with its Belt and Road infrastructure projects, the United States is striking back with a major development project right in China's backyard: Mongolia.
U.S. Ambassador Michael Klecheski and Mongolian President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh presided last month over the groundbreaking ceremony for a U.S.-funded water purification plant program. The $93 million program is part of a $350-million grant aimed at addressing a growing water shortage in the rapidly expanding Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar.
"Today marks a new chapter in the United States' partnership with the people of Mongolia," said Alexia Latortue, deputy chief of the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation, or MCC, the U.S. government agency providing the funding.
"Once operational, this purification plant will help … provide the critical water resources needed to support the everyday wellness and economic growth of Mongolians," she told ceremony participants.
Ties to US
Sandwiched between America's two largest geopolitical rivals, China and Russia, Mongolia might seem an unlikely target for U.S. diplomatic and economic outreach.
But, Klecheski told VOA in a telephone interview, decades of educational exchanges have laid the groundwork for warm relations between the two countries.
"A lot of people in [Mongolia's] government are educated in the United States," he said, adding that "the prime minister is a Harvard University alumnus." About one-third of Mongolia's parliament is composed of U.S. alumni, according to the State Department's account.
“This is a young country. There’s a great deal of interest in the United States, in our system and in learning English!” Klecheski said.
And there is more to the relationship than personal ties, according to Sodontogos Erdenetsogt, the Mongolian government official in charge of MCC projects in the country.
"I love working with the Americans because of their adherence to rules, their abiding by the system. That's the beauty of the Americans," she said by telephone from Ulaanbaatar.
She said she is impressed by her American counterparts' loyalty to their "values," including "transparency, accountability, responsibility, objectivity and the goodwill of the American people to help others."
Sodontogos said Mongolia's goal "is to abide by the same values" as the Americans, even though there are differences, such as in the handling of human relationships. "But these differences will never undermine our strong collaboration."
Support through grants
Another sweetener for the Mongolians is that the MCC project — unlike many Chinese infrastructure projects, which leave countries with varying degrees of debt — will be paid for entirely by the U.S., with some contribution from the Mongolian government.
"The U.S. government is supporting Mongolia's economic growth, using grant financing, when possible," Klecheski said at the groundbreaking, "because we believe that growing democracies benefit from programs that do not lead to too much debt."
Sodontogos said that for a developing country such as Mongolia, aid in the form of a grant is "very, very valuable."
The water project is a big deal for Ulaanbaatar, which faces a burgeoning water crisis as its population explodes. The city now accounts for almost half of the country's roughly 3.3 million people.
When completed, the project is expected to increase the city's water supply by 65%, making up the bulk of a larger plan to increase the supply by 80%. [[https://www.mcc.gov/.../release-082021-mcc-and-mongolia...]]
"Because it is water, everybody cares — because water is our main source of life," Sodontogos said. "Mongolian people are very much aware of this program. They support, they're grateful, they're willing to work with the U.S. government to successfully implement it,"
But for Klecheski, there is no less satisfaction in smaller projects, such as the groundbreaking ceremony he attended two weeks ago for a U.S.-funded kindergarten in Ulaangom, 1,290 kilometers (800 miles) west of the capital. It will be the eighth such U.S.-funded kindergarten to date.
"We are honored to have the opportunity to work with our Mongolian partners to provide safe and comfortable education environments for school-age children in Mongolia, one school at a time," read a statement on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is supervising the construction to ensure the highest quality, the statement adds.
U.S. and Mongolian armed forces have also forged close ties in recent years, including in the training of Mongolia's peacekeeping force and the latter’s contribution in U.S. and NATO efforts in Afghanistan over the past two decades.
U.S. and Mongolia entered into a strategic partnership in July 2019 during a meeting between then-Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga and President Donald Trump in Washington. In a sign of continued U.S. commitment, Wendy Sherman, Deputy Secretary of State in the Biden administration, visited Mongolia in July this year as part of an East Asia tour that also included Japan and South Korea and a last-minute stop in China.
Klecheski says the U.S. values the fact that Mongolia is the first country in Asia that has made the successful transition from a communist-led country to a free, democratic nation following the fall of the Soviet empire. "Obviously Mongolia is in an important part of the world," he said.
Nevertheless, Klecheski told VOA, the United States has much to do if it hopes to compete for economic influence with China, which receives 90% of Mongolia's exports — mainly minerals — and provides one-third of its imports. Russia also plays a major role in Mongolia's energy sector.
"Let's just say the embassy is very much anxious to see the expansion of cooperation in more areas," Klecheski said.
Americans don't know a lot about Mongolia, he acknowledged, and the market of 3 million people may be too small for some businesses. But, he said, Mongolia's mining and agricultural industries, IT sector, and other areas offer great potential for American investment.
Mongolia's people take pride in a heritage that dates back to the 13th-century conquests of Genghis Khan (Chinggis Khan), Klecheski said, but there is also "a strong sense of modernity here." He said he has observed a strong desire to "integrate with the world."
Natalie Liu
Natalie Liu has been a staff reporter and writer at VOA since 2005. She currently covers the diplomatic beat.
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EBRD and EU support better waste management in Ulaanbaatar www.montsame.mn

Across Mongolia, the connection of people to their environment is a very special one, deeply rooted in the local culture.
But the environment has been facing some difficult challenges in recent years, mostly because of the rapid development of the capital city, Ulaanbaatar.
These challenges are partly due to the general trend of urbanisation, as in many developing and transition countries. However, there are also some unique factors at play in the city, such as its location in a valley and coal-fired heating across its ger districts.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU) are working together to address one of these environmental challenges: waste. Only one out of three landfills in Ulaanbaatar is currently sanitary, so there is an urgent need for change. This is why the Bank has invested USD 9.7 million, supported by more than EUR4.9 million in EU grants, to expand the city’s capacity and modernise the way it manages its waste.
Mrs Tsolmonsaikhan, who lives in the Biokombinat area, where the landfill is located, stresses that such improvements are much needed. She has three children – aged 2, 3 and 13 – but does not allow them to play outside. She worries that they will find something to play with that is dangerous or bad for their health.
“In the spring, the waste flies away from the landfill. When I want to take my kids up the mountain, it is full of it. It is not a proper environment for the kids to grow up and play in.”
The investment will help the city to add much-needed capacity to the existing landfill Moringiin Davaa and turn it into a sanitary one in line with EU standards. At the same time, a new plant will recycle construction and demolition waste. This will reduce the use of building material and release capacity on the landfill through lower waste volumes.
Mrs Uugantsetseg also lives close to the landfill and has high hopes for the improvements.
“We hope that it will help to prevent air pollution. When the waste is burned, it creates a lot of smoke and the environment becomes very bad,” she says. “The environment is naturally important for me. You are healthy when you are surrounded by clean air.”
“The air quality in this area has traditionally been better than in Ulaanbaatar city centre, although the issue has become increasingly challenging at times. Soil has become loose from digging, and passing trucks, heading for the landfill, cause a lot of road dust,” she adds.
The preparation works for construction are under way. The problem of dusty access roads is among those that will be solved in the near future. Recycled construction waste will be used to repave access roads to the landfill. Furthermore, a road sprinkler and water tank will be purchased as part of the project, which will help to control and minimise dust for residents living close by.
The works to build the landfill and construction recycling plant are due to start this year and are expected to be completed in 2023.
A more modern waste infrastructure will bring about significant benefits in environmental protection and public health, and will contribute to offering local citizens a better quality of life for the years to come. The improvements are expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 18,000 tonnes and save around 100,000 tonnes of material each year. This is equivalent to taking 3,800 passenger cars off the road.
These improvements will turn Ulaanbaatar into a greener city. Ulaanbaatar is part of the EBRD Green Cities Programme, which foresees various investments in Mongolia’s capital. These will lead to significant and tangible improvements for Ulaanbaatar’s citizens, while protecting the environment in the long run.
Source: EBRD in Mongolia
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Central bank decides to maintain policy rate at 6 percent www.montsame.mn

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of Mongolia held a scheduled meeting on September 16, 2021. With due consideration to the current state of the economy and financial markets, as well as to future outlook and risks inherent in domestic and foreign environments, the MPC decided to:
1. Keep the policy rate at 6 percent;
2. Increase the amount of long-term repo financing instrument by up to MNT 100 billion in the fourth quarter of this year.
Annual headline inflation stands at 8.9 percent nationwide and 9.1 percent in Ulaanbaatar city as of August 2021. Inflation is rising due to the economic recovery, but most of it is due to the base effects and temporary supply-related factors. As a result of latter, the headline inflation is expected to temporarily increase, however, it will stabilize around the central bank’s target level in 2022. However, due to the global economic recovery, international supply chains and logistics disruptions, there is a risk that external inflation and world food and fuel prices will exceed expectations, and that supply-side inflation in the domestic market will increase.
Global economic growth has accelerated and the prices of most exports have remained high, but the positive effects have been less than expected. The spread of new variants of the coronavirus around the world, reducing the effectiveness of vaccinations and increasing caution, are creating uncertainty caused by the pandemic in the external and internal economic environment.
In times of pandemic, the central bank's monetary and macroeconomic policies and fiscal stimulus measures are supporting economic recovery and financial sector stability.
The current monetary policy stance is in line with the inflation target of the central bank. The policy adjustments aiming to maintain inflation under its target range shall be taken place inconsistent with the economic recovery and outlook.
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Iron ore price collapses below $100 as China extends environment curbs www.mining.com

The iron ore price sank below $100 a tonne on Friday for the first time since July 2020, as China’s moves to clean up its heavy-polluting industrial sector spurred a swift and brutal collapse.
The Ministry of Ecology and Environment said in a draft guideline on Thursday that it planned to involve 64 regions under key monitoring during winter air pollution campaign.
The regulator said steel mills in those regions would be urged to cut production based on their emission levels during the campaign from October until the end of March.
“Stringent production controls have driven market prices lower recently, and pessimistic outlook for demand have intensified,” analysts with SinoSteel Futures wrote in a note.
Prices have more than halved since peaking in May as the world’s biggest steelmaker intensifies production curbs to meet a target for lower volumes this year, and a sharp downturn in China’s property sector impacts demand.
Iron ore’s slump makes it one of the worst-performing major commodities and a notable outlier in a broader boom that’s seen aluminum soar to a 13-year high, gas prices jump and coal futures surge to unprecedented levels.
Iron ore futures have slumped more than 20% this week and were trading at $99.55 a tonne Friday morning in New York.
The decline “has played out faster than expected,”, said UBS Group AG. UBS predicts prices will average $89 next year, a 12% cut to its previous forecast.
Iron ore producers Rio Tinto Group, BHP Group, Vale SA and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. have seen their shares tumble.
Meanwhile, steel prices are still elevated. The market remains tight of supplies as China’s production cuts significantly outpace declining demand, according to Citigroup Inc.
Spot rebar is near the highest since May, albeit 12% below that month’s high, and nationwide inventories have shrunk for eight weeks.
China has repeatedly urged steel mills to reduce output this year to curb carbon emissions. Now, winter curbs are looming to ensure blue skies for the Winter Olympics.
(With files from Reuters and Bloomberg)
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