July iron ore imports hit 2016 high, steel exports ease-customs

By: | Published: August 8, 2016 10:33 AM

Chinese iron ore imports rose 8.3 percent in July from the previous month to hit its second-highest on record, customs data showed on Monday, as underlying demand for the raw material in the world's top buyer remained strong.

Shipment climbed to 88.4 million tonnes in July, the highest since December and up 2.7 percent from a year ago, data from the General Administration of Customs showed. (Source: Reuters)

Chinese iron ore imports rose 8.3 percent in July from the previous month to hit its second-highest on record, customs data showed on Monday, as underlying demand for the raw material in the world’s top buyer remained strong.

Shipment climbed to 88.4 million tonnes in July, the highest since December and up 2.7 percent from a year ago, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

For January to July, imports rose 8.1 percent from the same period the year before to 582.05 million tonnes.

“I’m not really surprised because a lot of overseas suppliers wanted to increase their shipments to take advantage of the price recovery,” said Helen Lau, an analyst with Argonaut Securities in Hong Kong.

“Imports should stay around these levels in the next few months unless the price increases to $65 to $70 which should encourage domestic output.”

A 30 percent surge in steel prices since late May has driven Chinese steel mills to maintain high production and restock on the raw material, despite surging inventories at home. Spot iron ore prices <.IO62-CNI=SI> have risen 27 percent since June.

The rapid growth in imports has driven stockpiles at main Chinese ports <CUS-STKTOT-IORE> to 108.06 million tonnes as of Aug. 5, the highest since September 2014, data from industry website Custeel.com showed.

Inventories have been above 100 million tonnes since July.

China’s steel exports in July dropped 5.9 percent from June to 10.3 million tonnes, the data showed. But exports remain high as steel mills keep shipping out products, despite complaints of dumping from other regions including the United States and Europe.

Total exports for the first seven months of 2016 rose 8.5 percent to 67.41 million tonnes from a year ago.

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