By Anil Mathews
March 21, 2017 08:30:24 PM
BEIJING (Scrap Monster): The Chinese iron ore imports made a strong start to the New Year. The latest data released by the General Administration of Customs indicate that the country’s imports of the steelmaking raw material increased significantly over the previous year during the month of January. Also, the imports of iron ore by the country were up when compared with those during December 2016.
China’s iron ore imports totaled 91.829 million tons during the first month of 2017. The imports were up significantly by 11.73% over the previous year. The Chinese iron ore imports had totaled 83.192 million tons in January last year. When matched with December 2016 imports, the imports during the month were up marginally by 3.24% from 88.946 million tons.
The largest supplier of iron ore to China during the month was Australia. The iron ore imports by the country from Australia totaled 57.291 million tons, accounting for over 62% of total monthly imports by China. The imports of Australian iron ore increased considerably by nearly 14% when matched with the imports of 50.123 million tons in January last year. The second largest iron ore exporter to China was Brazil. The imports from Brazil were down marginally by nearly 3% when matched with the same month a year before. The imports from Brazil dropped from 18.989 million tons in January 2016 to 18.406 million tons in January this year. As per data, the combined imports from Australia and Brazil accounted for more than 82% of Chinese iron ore imports during Jan 2017.
According to customs statistics, China imported 1.024 billion tonnes of steelmaking raw material during the entire year 2016, significantly higher by 7.5% from a year before. The Chinese iron ore imports had totaled only around 952 million tonnes in 2015. The shipments from Australia and Brazil increased significantly during 2016. The rise in imports was mainly on account of the unexpected rise in steel production by the country coupled with lower domestic mine output. The spurt in imports was also supported by strong rebound in iron ore prices. Incidentally, iron ore prices surged higher by more than 80% during the course of the year.
The slowdown in steel demand during the cold winter season resulted in sharp drop in iron ore imports by the country during December last year. The inward shipments dropped by more than 7.6% year-on-year to total 88.946 million tonnes during the month. The country had imported 96.270 million tons of iron ore during December 2015. The value of imports increased sharply to $6.061 billion. The average import price too has increased by one-third year-on-year to $68.1 per ton in December last year.
The country’s iron ore imports had totaled 91.978 million tonnes during the month, higher by 12.0% when matched with the imports during the corresponding month in 2015. Also, the total value of imports by the country had increased sharply by nearly 17.4% over the year to $5.527 billion in November 2016. The largest exporter of iron ore to China during the month was Australia. The imports from Australia totaled 56.395 million tonnes, valued at $3.333 billion. Brazil exported 21.535 million tonnes of iron ore to China during the month. In third place was South Africa with 4.075 million tonnes. The other key exporters of iron ore to China were India (1.585 million tonnes), Iran (1.328 million tonnes) and Chile (1.202 million tonnes).