China iron ore imports slump to lowest level in over 1 year
Chinese imports of steel-making ingredient iron ore slumped last month to the lowest level in more than a year as mills prepared to cut output to comply with production curbs ordered by the government in Beijing.
Shipments of iron ore to China fell 23 per cent month-on-month in October to 79.5m tonnes, with volumes hit by the so called ‘winter heating season’ cuts as well as a combination of the Golden Week holiday and the National People’s congress meeting.
“If the government-mandated shutdowns during the winter go ahead as planned, iron ore imports could fall further,” said Caroline Bain, chief commodities economist at Capital Economics.
Beijing has ordered heavily polluting industries operating in smog-prone provinces to reduce output and curb emissions, demanding strict cuts to steel production for the winter heating season from October to March.
Iron ore prices were unmoved by the data. Ore with 62 per cent iron content rose 20 cents to $62.50 a tonne, according to a price assessment from the Steel Index.
Trader said the slowdown was expected and it followed a record month in September when China purchased 102.8m tonnes, as steel mills cranked up production ahead of the winter cuts. Moreover, imports are still up 6.3 per cent this year to 896m.