China’s iron ore imports fell 4.2% in October for a second straight month of decline, customs data showed on Sunday, as steel output curbs undermine demand for the raw material.
The world’s top iron ore consumer imported 91.61 million tonnes of iron ore last month, down from 95.61 million in September, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
The figure also represents a plunge of 14.2% from Oct. 2020, after the government clamped on environmental controls and demand for steel products weakened.
“In the next few years, China’s energy consumption controls will continue to weigh on its crude steel production and also affect its demand for imported iron ore,” GF Futures told clients in a note ahead of the data.
Prices for the most actively traded iron ore futures contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange DCIOcv1 have plunged about half from a peak in mid-May of 1,227 yuan ($191.90) per tonne.
GF Futures expects China’s imports of iron ore to fall 5% to 7% in the second half of the year as steel production drops.
In the first ten months of 2021, China imported 933.48 million tonnes of iron ore, for an annual drop of 4.2%.
October’s steel exports of 4.5 million tonnes were a drop of 8.5% from a month earlier, but were up 11.4% on the year.
Steel imports fell 10% on the month, to 1.13 million tonnes last month, versus purchases of 1.93 million a year ago.