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China's iron ore imports down 5.2% month-on-month in April

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China’s daily iron ore imports fell 5.2% month-on-month in April, according to preliminary customs data.

Daily import volume averaged 1.92 million tonnes in April, but still represented a 9.1% increase from a year earlier.

Some market participants attribute the decline to relatively high prices.

The Metal Bulletin Iron Ore Index monthly average for 62% Fe stood at $147.81 per tonne cfr in April, the highest level since last November.

“As steel prices started to go down in the middle of last month, Chinese steel mills’ appetite for high-priced iron ore gradually thinned,” one iron ore trader in Shanghai said.

“Another reason was that domestic iron ore output has stepped up since March as the weather [has warmed up], which restricted certain demand for imported materials,” another Shanghai trader said.

For the first four month this year, China imported 224.6 million tonnes of iron ore, up 6.5% from last same period in 2011.

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