SHANGHAI, Nov. 11 (SMM) -- According to data from China Customs, China’s imports of iron ore from January to October were 558 million mt, up 10.9% YoY. China’s imports of iron ore during October were 49.94 million mt, up 9.23% YoY, and down 10.63 million mt MoM, a low ranking only second to February's import level. Average price for imported iron ore in October was USD 175.54/mt, down 0.22% MoM. Steelease believes that arrivals of imported iron ore to China will slip further to below 45 million mt in November.
Affected by negative impact from international financial turbulence and China’s tight monetary policy, China’s domestic steel prices were significantly down, with average price for major steel products down by more than USD 100/mt. In addition, as steel mills largely consumed previously-stocked high-priced iron ore, they suffered from significant losses. In order to lower losses, many steel mills were forced to halt production for unit maintenance ahead of Schedule in October. At least 40 blast furnaces suspended operation for unit maintenance in Tangshan, Hebei province, affecting around 31.22 million mt capacity. The affected capacity accounted for nearly 50% of total local capacity. In this context, China’s output of crude steel in October was only 54.67 million mt during October, down 3.6% MoM.
Due to large scale unit maintenance at steel mills, iron ore demand from steel mills was also down to great extent. In addition, since iron ore prices were on downward track, with daily price decline by USD 3/mt, steel mills purchased iron ore cautiously. Many steel mills almost ceased to purchase iron ore and only consumed existing inventory. Steel mills largely made purchases on an as-needed basis at minimum amount.
According to sources, iron ore shipped from Australia’s Hedland iron ore port was 19.8 million mt, down 0.7% MoM, up 16% YoY. Of the total iron ore shipped from Hedland iron ore port, 14.74 million mt was shipped to China, down 2.5% MoM, and up 29.4% YoY.