Domestic steelmakers are facing a coke supply shortage even as iron ore and freight prices soar. Coke prices have reached US$167 per ton, almost double compared to a year earlier. Major steelmakers like Baosteel and Ansteel only have stockpiles that can last five days. The chairman of the China Iron and Steel Association, Luo Bingsheng, told Beijing Business Times (in Chinese) that steel manufacturers are eager for more coke and that heightened demand may last for up to a year. The steel industry’s increased production capacity, combined with diminished freight capacity for coke, were the major reasons for the shortage, according to industry experts. Although 30 million tons of production capacity will be taken off the market this year from closings of steel plants that fail to meet industry standards, 40 million tons will be added from new projects, resulting in a surplus for the year, Luo said.