SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China's iron ore imports recovered in November to one of the highest levels in history, with appetite for the world's largest buyer that remains strong even when Beijing forced steel mills to cut production as part of its war against winter smog. .
Shipments of steelmaking material increased by 18.9 percent 94.54 million tons in November compared to the previous month and 2.8 percent more than a year ago, according to data from the General Customs Office of Administration on Friday. That was the fifth highest recorded.
Total arrivals during the first 11 months increased 6 percent to 990.73 million tons from 935.08 million tons a year ago. That puts the country on track to reach last year's import record of 1.020 million tons.
Production cuts by Chinese steelmakers have led to tighter supplies, bringing steel prices to multi-year highs and boosting iron ore prices as factories and commercializing refueling in anticipation of the recovery of steel production. steel after March.
"This was partly driven by the increase in Brazilian exports because there is an increase in production there from Vale's VALE5.SA mines," said Helen Lau, an analyst at Argonaut Securities in Hong Kong.
"Given that iron ore prices have been recovering, I should expect Brazil to take advantage and export as much as it can," he said.
She said merchants may also have begun to accumulate inventory as prices fell in anticipation of an increase in demand once the plants resume full operations after the severe winter restrictions in the north are lifted in March .
Shanghai Steel futures SRBcv1 rose 9.7 percent in November, while DCIOcv1 iron ore prices rose 16.5 percent for the month.
China's demand for iron ore is expected to rise 1.3 percent in 2017 to 1,122 million tons, but drop 0.2 percent to 1.12 billion tons in 2018, according to a report published by the Planning Institute. Investigation of the Metallurgical Industry of China (MPI).
China's crude steel production is expected to grow 3 percent to 832 million tons this year, and another 0.7 percent in 2018.
China's steel exports fell sharply to 5.35 million tons in November from 8.12 million tons a year ago. Exports of the year to date fell 30.7 percent to 69.83 million tons in the year, showed customs data.
Steel imports increased to 1.14 million tons from 0.95 million tons in October, but total imports from January to November remained almost stable at 12.1 million tons compared to 12.02 million tons a year ago.
Report of Ruby Lian in SHANGHAI and Manolo Serapio Jr in MANILA; Joseph Radford edition