China’s monthly iron ore import and steel output figures are now staple reading for Aussie investors given our enormous exposure to the country’s voracious steel sector and the current instability in trade relations between the two countries.
October’s figures show small falls in iron ore imports and steel output – for seasonal reasons as China approaches the northern winter when pollution controls and weaker than normal building activity curbs demand and output.
China’s crude steel output fell for the second month in a row in October, down 0.4% from September, as production was curtailed by environmental restrictions on sintering in some cities and an easing in expected demand over the northern winter.
China’s steel mills produced 92.2 million tonnes of crude steel last month, compared with 92.56 million tonnes in September and a record 94.845 million tonnes in August.
That was up 13% from October 2019 when output totalled 81.521 million.
Average daily output was 2.97 million tonnes in October, down from the daily record of 3.09 million tonnes in September.
For the first 10 months of the year, Chinese mills turned out 873.93 million tonnes of crude steel, 5.5% more than for the first 10 months of 2019 and well on the way to a record tonnage above 1.050 billion tonnes.
China’s trade data earlier this month showed iron ore imports slipped 1.7% last month from September but were up nearly 15% from a year earlier.
Iron ore imports totalled 106.74 million tonnes in October, 14.9% above October 2019, but still below September’s 108.55 million tonnes, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.
For the first 10 months of 2020, iron ore imports rose 11.2% to 975.2 million tonnes, rising 11.2% from the same period a year earlier.