High iron ore and copper imports in China
by David Fleschen
While exports of commodities were subdued, China continued to import large quantities of raw materials in August. According to data from the customs authorities, iron ore imports increased by more than 6% year on year to almost 95 million tonnes. This was the largest amount since January 2018. In Brazil and Australia, significantly more iron ore was produced and exported again recently. According to data from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Brazil had exported as much iron ore in July as it had for nine months. Also in August, exports were high. According to the Port Authority, Australia has shipped more iron ore through the port of Port Hedland than ever before in August. Chinese steel producers and distributors have taken advantage of better availability, coupled with sharply lower prices, and increased their stocks. The iron ore reserves in the Chinese ports had reached a 3-month high at the end of August. Although imports of copper were just under 4% below the previous year, at 404 thousand tonnes they were still above average this year. This may be due to the tightening of import restrictions on copper scrap at the beginning of July. Another expression of the change in Chinese import policy is the imports of copper ore and concentrate. At 1.82 million tonnes, these were below the record high of the previous month, but well above the previous year. China needs a lot of ore and concentrate for its smelters, whose capacities have been greatly expanded or will be.
Source: Commerzbank Research, Photo: Fotolia