China Still Subsidizing Zombies

WSJ: China Continues to Props Up Its Ailing Factories, Adding to Global Glut
According to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Chinese public companies, Chinese government support includes billions of dollars in cash assistance, subsidized electricity and other benefits to companies. Recipients include steelmakers, coal miners, solar-panel manufacturers, and other producers of other goods including copper and chemicals.

One beneficiary, Aluminum Corp. of China, or Chalco, said in October one of its units would shut down a roughly 500,000-ton-per-year smelter in the far-western Gansu region as it struggled to make profits. Executives prepped for thousands of layoffs.

Then Gansu officials slashed the plant’s electricity bill by 30%, employees say, and the factory was saved. Although a portion of capacity was taken offline, most is operational.

“We’re in full production now with 380,000 tons of capacity,” said Fei Zhongchang, a company sales manager. Chalco’s press office and local government officials didn’t respond to requests for further comment.

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