China June Iron Ore Imports Slip M/M; Steel Exports Hit Second Highest On Record

14 July 2016

China's iron ore imports fell 5.9 percent in June from a month ago, although total arrivals over the first six months climbed 9 percent from year-ago levels as the world's top steel producer ramped up production, boosting appetite for the raw material.

Monthly shipments of the steelmaking ingredient in June fell to 81.63 million tonnes from May, while imports for the first half came in at 493.7 million tonnes, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Wednesday.

"China's steel production is rising from May and China is just probably using some of its iron ore inventory, so that's why you can see imports have come off a little," said Helen Lau, an analyst with Argonaut Securities in Hong Kong.

"But imports are still relatively high, supported by increasing steel production and quite solid steel exports."

Chinese steelmakers have ramped up production following a recovery in steel prices and firm demand this year, while the gradual closure of loss-making domestic iron ore mines has helped boost imports of the raw material.

Spot iron ore prices rose 9 percent in June, and are up about 37 percent so far this year. Shanghai rebar prices have jumped 48 percent since the start of 2016.

Chinese iron ore port stocks stood at 102.05 million tonnes by July 11, the highest since late 2014, data from the industry website Custeel showed, as traders expected demand to stay strong for the key steelmaking ingredient.

China's monthly steel exports rose to the second-highest on record of 10.94 million tonnes in June, data showed, as steel mills kept shipping out products, despite complaints of dumping from other regions including the United States and Europe.

It earlier hit a record high of 11.25 million tonnes in September, 2015. Total exports for the first half of 2016 rose 9 percent year-on-year to 57.12 million tonnes.


Source :