Cheap iron-ore imports reach record highs as steel stockpiles continue to rise
China’s iron ore imports climbed to a record 51 million metric tons in March, the Ministry of Transport said today on its website. According to customs figures, iron ore imports in February stood at 46.8 million tons
The nation’s daily crude steel output fell to 1.38 million tons last month from 1.45 million tons in February, Umetal said today, citing data from the China Iron and Steel Association.
The increase in iron ore imports despite steel output droppiong is partly due to the dramatic plunge in overseas iron ore prices.
As of March 27, the CIF (cost, insurance, freight) price of 63.5 percent refined Indian iron ore has dropped 70 percent from late 2007 to around US$61 per ton now. Domestic Chinese iron ore is selling at US$ 75, over 20 percent higher than Indian product.
China’s steelmakers dramatically expanded production in the first two month of this year which has now resulted in a huge build-up of unsold inventory. This was pushing down prices before the supply of iron ore began to mushroom.
China's inventory of mainstream steel products jumped 63 percent to 11.5m tonnes in February, according to Steel business briefing. Steel price dropped 7.4 percent year on year in March to the level of the same month 1994.
Rizhao Port (SH:600017), China’s largest port for handling iron ore, slid 6.07 percent.
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