BEIJING, Jan. 30 -- Stockpiles of iron ore at 25 major Chinese ports continued to slide during the week ending Jan. 28, marking the third consecutive week of declines, according to Xinhua's latest iron ore price report released on Tuesday.
Inventories of imported iron ore at the ports stood at 78.94 million metric tons, down 690,000 metric tons, or 0.87 percent, from a week earlier, the report said.
The price index for 63.5-percent-grade iron ore imports rose four points to 148 points during the period, while the index for 58-percent-grade imports also gained four points to 130 points.
The report attributed the changes to steelmakers' stocking policies ahead of the upcoming Spring Festival. But given the weak support of downstream demands, large-scale purchase orders will be unlikely in the short term, said Xinhua analysts.
The report forecast that import prices of iron ore will see minor fluctuations in the near-term as imports from Australia and Brazil slow in the rainy seasons and China's purchasing rush recedes ahead of the Spring Festival.
China, the world's top iron ore consumer and buyer, imported 740 million metric tons of the raw material in 2012, up 8.4 percent year on year.
The average import price in 2012 dropped 21.6 percent from one year earlier to stand at 128.6 U.S. dollars per metric ton, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.