China July iron ore imports slip as buying spree eases for summer

Source:Reuters-Global Times Published: 2017/8/8 17:53:39

China's iron ore imports in July fell by 2.4 percent from a year earlier as a recent buying spree eased, despite higher steel prices spurring mills in the world's biggest steel producer to ramp up output.

Iron ore imports in July stood at 86.25 million tons, according to the statistics released by China's General Administration of Customs (GAC) on Tuesday.

That is an 8.9 percent decrease from the 94.7 million tons in June and a 2.4 percent decrease from the 88.4 million tons in July last year, according to Reuters' calculations based on the GAC data.

The GAC does not provide a percentage change for the monthly totals.

For the January to July period, China imported 625 million tons of iron ore, up 7.5 percent from a year earlier.

Analysts said the total was still near historical highs as mills continue to produce large volumes of steel to take advantage of decent margins.

Chinese rebar steel futures on Tuesday were trading near their highest level since 2013 ahead of the country's planned production curbs set for winter that have prompted buyers to advance purchases.

Activity in the country's steel industry expanded in July at the fastest pace since April 2016, fueled by strong demand and low levels of inventory.

Stockpiles of imported iron ore at China's major ports remain close to 13-year highs.

Steel consumption typically eases during the summer months in the north of the country along with construction activity.

Exports of steel products were 6.96 million tons, the GAC data showed.

That is up 2.2 percent from June and down 32 percent from last year, according to Reuters' calculations.

For the January to July period, steel exports were down 28.7 percent at 47.95 million tons, according to GAC statistics.

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