China, the world’s biggest iron ore buyer, increased imports by 11 percent last year as higher steel production boosted demand.
Iron ore imports rose to 686 million metric tons from 618.4 million tons in 2010, according to customs data released today.
Imports totaled 64.1 million tons in December, according to the data. That’s down 0.2 percent from November and up 10 percent from a year earlier, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
China’s steel production gained 9.8 percent in the first 11 months of 2011. Spot prices of the alloy averaged $167.60 a ton last year, up 14 percent, according to the Steel Index.
Exports of steel products gained 15 percent to 48.9 million tons last year. Shipments reached 3.72 million tons in December.