BEIJING, Jan. 27 -- Imported iron ore stockpiles at China's leading ports increased by 310,000 tons last week, hitting a three-month high of 67.42 million tons as of Jan 22, the China Securities Journal reported today, citing industry data.
Shipments from Australia increased by 200,000 tons to 22.23 million tons, compared with the previous week, accounting for 33 percent of the total.
Imports from Brazil reached 18.55 million tons, or 27.5 percent of the total, and iron ore from India accounted for 21.3 percent of the total, reaching 14.35 million tons, according to statistics released by Mysteel.com, an industry information provider.
"The actual port stock figure is surely above this level," Xu Xiangchun, the chief analyst for Mysteel.com, told the newspaper.
Last week, China's spot iron ore price fell for the first time in five weeks. Figures from Mysteel.com showed that the general price fell 1.4 percent, with the price of imported iron ore slipping 0.6 percent and that of domestically produced ore down 1.6 percent.
Iron ore imports in January may drop slightly from the previous month, judging by the sluggish turnover at the beginning of this month, said Hu Kai, an analyst with Umetal.com, an information website for steels and raw materials. But he added that the import volume will not dip below 50 million tons.
China imported 62.16 million tons of iron ore in December. For the full year of 2009, iron ore imports increased 41.6 percent year-on-year to 627.78 million tons, according to statistics from the General Administration of Customs.
As the world's biggest importer of iron ore, China secures most of its supplies from Australia, Brazil and India.