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Sunday, 12 January 2014
China's iron ore imports hit record in 2013
China's iron ore imports hit a new record high of a staggering 820 million tonnes in 2013 (2012: 743m).
And imports could surge by "another 100 million tonnes" in 2014.
It will be interesting to see whether a new monthly record is set in early 2014 or whether a slowdown is underway.
"China's iron ore imports dropped 5.7 per cent in December, off the previous month's record high, as slowing steel demand towards year end curbed purchases of the steelmaking raw material in the world's top consumer.
But surging steel output through most of the year in the world's largest steel producer drove purchases of iron ore to a record high in 2013.
Arrivals fell to 73.38 million tonnes in December, easing from the peak of 77.84 million tonnes in November, but up 3.4 per cent from a year ago, customs data showed on Friday.
Imports held above the 70 million mark in four out of the six months to December.
China imported a total 820 million tonnes of iron ore in 2013, surging 10 per cent from 2012 when arrivals rose 8.43 per cent to 743.55 million tonnes.
Chinese steel output climbed 8 per cent to all-time high of 774.6 million tonnes in 2013, according to data from the China Iron & Steel Association.
Some analysts expected China's iron ore imports to rise further this year as increased overseas supply replaces higher-cost domestic iron ore mines, boosting imports.
"Iron ore imports may surge by another 100 million tonnes this year, as increased lower-cost supplies from overseas will replace expensive domestic ore and China's steel output will keep growing," said Du Hui, an analyst with Qilu Securities in Shanghai."