Sep 09, 2011 BEIJING (Dow Jones)--China's metal imports in August rose robustly from July as expectations for stronger construction demand offset credit concerns amid lower raw-material prices.
How much the world's second-largest economy imports reflects growth stability, which this year has been challenged by high inflation and an unsteady global economy.
Imports of copper and copper products rose 11% to the second-highest level this year at 340,398 metric tons, though the volume slipped 10% from last August, data from the General Administration of Customs showed Saturday.
"It was expected that there would be an on-month rise in July largely because of an attractive price arbitrage in preceding months," Shanghai Cifco analyst Fang Junfeng said, referring to relatively lower London copper prices that spurred copper shipments to Shanghai.
Producers were importing "judicious" amounts of copper in August to replenish depleted inventories, though traders are holding back from massive stockbuilding to guard against volatile prices, Fang said.
Recovering automotive demand pushed August rubber imports to 200,000 tons, up 54% compared with July and 25% compared with last August.
Iron ore imports last month rose 8.3% on month and 32.5% on year to 59.1 million tons, the highest level since March, Customs said.
A period of relatively low prices in early July, when spot ore prices touched $175/ton, had encouraged spot shipments from Australia and Brazil, traders said.
"We expect iron ore imports to stay high but stable, as steel demand has been steady," CRU Group iron ore analyst Jim Lin said.