China Renews Appetite For Iron Ore
While China’s imports of crude oil and soybeans fell in June, iron ore imports again rose and are on their way to a new all time high by the end of December if the current pace is maintained.
The country imported 1.024 billion tonnes of ore last year and the pace in the first six months of the year was more than 9% ahead of that figure.
Iron ore imports in June totalled a near record 94.43 million tonnes, up 3% from 91.52 million tonnes in May and 15% higher than the 81.63 million tonnes a year earlier. China’s all time monthly high was 95.6 million tonnes in March of this year.
And the first half of 2017 saw iron ore imports rise 9.3% (much more than anyone forecast at the start of the year) to 539 million tonnes from the 493.7 million tonnes in the same period last year, official data from China’s customs authority showed on Thursday.
Iron ore shipments from Port Hedland soared to a record 494.6 million (Mt) tonnes in the 12 months to June 30.
The Port of Port Hedland achieved a record annual throughput of 500.9 Mt, an increase of 40.5Mt or 9% from the previous year.
Iron ore exports for the year totalled 494.6Mt, an increase of 40.3Mt or 9% from the previous year.
The port also achieved a monthly throughput of 44Mt in June, an increase of 1.8Mt or 4% from the same month last year.
Iron ore exports in June totalled 43.1Mt, an increase of 1.3Mt or 3% from the same time last year.
While iron ore demand increased imports of crude oil fell, coming in at 35.69 million tonnes from 37.2 million tonnes in May.
Between January to June, imports grew by 13.8% year-on-year to 212 million tonnes, a sure sign of the improved pace of activity in the economy.
China imported 390,000 tonnes, unchanged from May, but down 7% from the 420,000 tonnes imported in June of last year.
China imported 2.23 million tonnes of copper in the first half of this year, down 18.4% compared to same period last year.
Soybean imports fell to 7.69 million tonnes, from 9.59 million tonnes in May.
Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.
At the AFR he was a finance writer, Finance Editor, News Editor and Chief of Staff. At the Nine Network he was supervising producer of Business Sunday for more than 16 years. He has also written for other online and analogue print publications here and overseas.