China’s iron ore imports in September rose thanks to a combination of a supply lift from major miners and easing port congestion, with the coming months pointing to further solid supplies from key players Brazil and Australia.
Iron ore shipments in September rose 8.2% from the prior month, and 9.3% from a year ago to 108.55 million tonnes, official data from China’s customs authority showed on Tuesday.
China’s appetite for iron ore, a key steelmaking ingredient has remained strong despite the coronavirus pandemic, as the world’s biggest buyer imported 868.46 million tonnes iron ore between January and September, increasing 10.8% from the same period in 2019, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.
Arrivals of iron ore from China’s top two suppliers, Australia and Brazil, inched 0.7% higher to 84.8 million tonnes in September with contribution mainly by the former, vessel-tracking data compiled by Refinitiv showed.
“Some iron ore shipments that were previously in congestion at Chinese ports got cleared in September, in part contributing to higher import figures in the month, “said Richard Lu, senior analyst with CRU in Beijing.
“Overall shipments from (Australia and Brazil) are strong in the September-October period based on our tracking, meaning a high likelihood of sufficient supply in the coming month.”
However, analysts expect Brazil’s supply will continue to recover and its 2021 production will show an annual growth of 12%, Fitch Solutions wrote in a note in early October.
China’s September imports of steel products rose 28.8% to 2.88 million tonnes while exports rose 4.1% to 3.83 million tonnes from a month earlier.
Exports in the first nine months fell to 40.38 million tonnes from 50.26 million tonnes a year ago.
The China Iron & Steel Association expected China’s steel exports at around 55 million tonnes in 2020.