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China iron ore imports rise as scrap, coking coal fall in May

Keywords: Tags  iron ore, ferrous scrap, coking coal, Chinese imports, China customs, raw material imports

SHANGHAI — China’s iron ore imports rose 2.1 percent month on month in May to 68.6 million tonnes, the third-highest monthly volume in history, according to Chinese Customs data released June 21. But shipments of coking coal and ferrous scrap both fell compared with April.

Iron ore arrivals from Australia rose 10.2 percent compared with April, while those from Brazil fell 9.6 percent.

China’s coking coal imports fell 6.5 percent to 6.5 million tonnes in May even as Australia, its largest supplier, shipped 2.8 percent more vs. April. Imports from Canada and the United States, the No. 3 and No. 4 suppliers, respectively, were mixed. Imports from Canada fell 21.4 percent to 980,000 tonnes while those from the United States rose 4.9 percent to 830,000 tonnes.

Coking coal imports in the first five months of the year totaled 30.6 million tonnes, up 66.8 percent from the same period last year.

China imported 340,952 tonnes of ferrous scrap in May, down 39 percent from April. Arrivals from Japan, the largest supplier, fell 18.8 percent to 236,616 tonnes, while those from the United States plunged 60.7 percent to 73,932 tonnes.

Relatively higher international scrap prices made imports difficult, market players said. "Even if scrap is offered at $360 per tonne c.f.r. China, it is still 200 yuan ($32) per tonne higher than domestic scrap prices. The offers were actually even higher than $360 per tonne c.f.r. China," a trader in Shanghai told AMM sister publication Steel First.

A version of this article was first published in AMM sister publication Steel First.

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