SHANGHAI, Nov 8 (SMM) – China's iron ore imports unexpectedly trended lower in October, after three straight months of increase, according to data released by China Customs on November 8, as reduced margins at steel mills dented their demand for the steelmaking feedstock.
Customs data showed that China took 92.86 million mt of seaborne iron ore and concentrates in October, 6.5% lower from September but remained 5.1% higher than October 2018.
China's iron ore imports hit a 20-month high in September, standing at 99.36 million mt.The world’s largest iron ore consumer imported 877.18 million mt of iron ore and concentrates from January to October this year, down 1.6% from 891.48 million mt during the same period last year.
Elevated prices of raw materials and pressure from environmental production curbs ate into profits at steelmakers in China and affected their stockpiling of iron ore.
Customs data also showed that China’s imports of steel products shrank 7.65% from September to 1.03 million mt in October. Steel products exports also fell 10.3% on the month to 4.78 million mt.