China’s iron ore import volume hits record new high in July
By Eunice Ouyang
Editor, SteelOrbis China
The Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau of China’s Hebei Province announced on Aug 14 that the largest steelmaking province in China, Hebei province imported 9.63 million mt iron ore in July, up 23.15% year on year, up 28.42% on monthly basis, which hit the record new high of imported iron ore volume for Hebei province. According to Hebei Commerce, the abandon of iron ore import licensing system as of July 1 to open up the iron ore import market greatly contributed to the rising import volume of iron ore in July.
Iron ore import licensing system has existed for around 10 years, in 2005, CISA once raised the access conditions for import iron ore enterprises, with crude steel output and iron ore import volume above 2 million mt and 0.3 million mt annually as a must. Since then, qualified enterprises volume has been shrunk to 118 from over 500.
Moreover, in July, China imported 73.14 million mt of iron ore, up 10.84 million mt month on month and up 26.39 percent year on year, also hitting a record new high on monthly basis, while the average iron ore import price during the month was $118.5/mt, declining by 12.2 percent compared to the same month in the previous year. In the January-July period, China’s imports of iron ore totaled 457.23 million mt, up eight percent year on year.
Analysts said in addition to the withdrawal of iron ore licensing system, increasing demand from building, and rising inventory replenishment activity of iron ore were the main factors to push up iron ore import volume. Real estate industry is still regarded as the key industry to bolster Chinese economic development and pull up steel demand. Due to lag effect of real estate investment in 2012, it is believed that many projects have been started since the middle of 2013, which also boost steel demand and iron ore consumption.