China’s iron ore imports jumped 17% in June from a month earlier to hit the highest level in 33 months, customs data showed on Tuesday, fuelled by rising shipments from miners and robust demand in China.
The world’s biggest steel producer brought in 101.68 million tonnes of iron ore last month, surging from 87.03 million tonnes in May, data from the General Administration of Customs showed. Imports were also up 35% from June 2019.
June shipments were the highest monthly imports since October 2017.
“June is the last month of the Australian financial year and miners were motivated to ship out more material for decent financial results,” said Zhao Yu, analyst with Huatai Futures, adding that steel mills were also buying up on hopes of more demand after the rainy season.
Australia’s shipments of iron ore to China from the world’s top export hub of Port Hedland climbed to a record of 46.2 million tonnes in June, data from the port authority showed on July 10.
For the first half of the year, arrivals of the steelmaking raw material came in at 546.9 million tonnes, up 9.6% from the corresponding 2019 period, the data showed.
The customs data also showed China shipped out 3.7 million tonnes of steel products in June, down from 4.4 million tonnes in May and 5.3 million tonnes a year earlier.
In the first half of 2020, China’s steel exports were at 28.7 million tonnes, down 16.5% from the same period year earlier.