Chinas 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.