SHANGHAI, Jan 13 (SMM) - According to the General Administration of Customs, China imported 90.86 million mt of iron ore and concentrates in December 2022, a decrease of 7.99 million mt or 8.08% MoM and an increase of 4.79 million mt YoY. The imports totalled 1,106.86 million mt throughout 2022, a year-on-year decrease of 17.18 million mt.
SMM believes that the sharp MoM decline in the import volume in December was mainly attributed to the Christmas holiday that affected the shipments. Apart from that, the frequent rainfall in Australia and Brazil in December also limited the export shipments. In fact, iron ore prices have been rising constantly since November, with Platts Iron Ore Index over $120/mt. However, the continued losses of domestic steel mills suppressed the spot prices of iron ore. As the profits of imported iron ore narrowed, traders were reluctant to pick up cargoes at ports.
The trades in January will decline due to the week-long Chinese New Year holiday, and the recent high iron ore prices also imply a high risk for profit seekers. Therefore, it is estimated that iron ore import volume will continue to contract in January.