The iron ore price surged past $150 a tonne on Tuesday as China offered its huge steel industry five extra years of rising carbon emissions.
Steelmaking accounts for about 15% of China’s carbon emissions. On Monday, the government set 2030 as the new deadline for peak emissions for the sector, against an earlier target of 2025.
“This is a big adjustment to the timetable, which gives more room for the steel sector to reach peak emissions in an orderly way,” said Xu Xiangchun, an analyst with researcher Mysteel.
“A rush to meet carbon goals could lead to “unbearable economic costs”, he said.
According to Fastmarkets MB, benchmark 62% Fe fines imported into Northern China were changing hands for $149.64 a tonne during morning trading, the highest since August 31. The metal has rebounded more than 70% from November’s plunge on expectations of steadier growth in 2022.
Iron ore futures in Singapore rose as much as 3.8% to $153 a tonne, the highest level since Aug. 31, and traded at $148.20 by 4:20 p.m. local time.
President Xi Jinping said last month that climate targets shouldn’t compromise supplies of commodities that “ensure the normal life of the masses.”
The policy shift may put China’s overall target of reaching peak emissions by 2030 at risk, according to Li Shuo, analyst at Greenpeace East Asia.
“Traditional sectors such as steel will need to peak much earlier to make space for sectors such as transportation that are still developing.”