(Bloomberg) -- Public buses have been ordered off the roads in Tangshan, the biggest center for steel in the world’s largest producer. That move, directed by the city government as the China battles the deadly coronavirus outbreak, illustrates just one follow-through consequence for raw materials from the crisis.
To prevent the disease’s spread, public transport within the city was suspended from Tuesday morning, according to the local administration’s official Weibo account. No date has been set for a resumption of services in the Hebei province city that’s dominated by mills.
Commodities investors are seeking to gauge the impact on raw material prices and consumption from the health emergency that’s gripped markets worldwide. At present, China’s marking the Lunar New Year, with many factories on go-slow mode after workers returned home. That break has been extended, with financial markets now shut until Monday.
China accounted for more than 55% of global steel production last month, and Tangshan is a key hub with output trends that are tracked by analysts for hints about industry conditions, supply and environmental curbs. A suspension of bus services may make it harder for remaining staff to report for duty.
Futures for iron ore, the raw material to make steel, dropped as much as 2.6% to $83 a ton in Singapore, and traded at $84.75. That’s down more than 7% this year.
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