Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- China, the world’s biggest iron ore buyer, reduced imports of the raw material to an eight-month low as demand from steelmakers fell.
The country imported 49.9 million metric tons of iron ore last month, the General Customs said on its website. That’s an 18 percent drop from 60.6 million tons of a month earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The steelmakers, including Angang Steel Co. and smaller producers in Hebei province, shuttered plants for maintenance as prices of the alloy dropped, curbing demand for iron ore. China’s steel-product exports fell 9.3 percent from a month earlier to 3.82 million tons, the customs data showed.
In the first 10 months, steel-product exports gained 11 percent to 41 million tons, while iron ore imports rose 11 percent to 557.9 million tons.
The spot price for iron ore arriving at China’s Tianjin port increased to $134.40 a ton as of yesterday from $116.90, the lowest in almost two years, on Oct. 28, according to the Steel Index.
The drop in prices last month has triggered some buying from steelmakers to replenish stockpiles, Umetal.com analyst Xu Guangjian said.
Iron ore prices for immediate delivery fell 31 percent as of the end of October compared with a month earlier on China’s credit tightening and slowing steel demand from builders and automakers.