IRON and STEEL
According to General Administration of Customs, China - the world's largest iron ore consumer and importer, recorded 4% rise in iron ore imports to 83.75 MnT in May'19 against hitting 18 months low in Apr'19 at 80.77 MnT.
However, on yearly basis import volumes has dropped by 11% against 94.14 MnT in May'18.
The total imports for the CY19 (Jan-May'19) witnessed at 425.28 MnT, down 5% as compared to 447.43 MnT in CY18 (Jan-May'18).
Why did iron ore imports picked up in May'19?
Fall in iron ore inventory at Chinese Ports:
As per SteelHome consultancy, Iron ore inventory at major Chinese port fell to 124.9 MnT towards May'19 end, level last seen in Feb'17 as against 133.6 MnT towards beginning of May'19. The inventory fell to 121.6 MnT last weekend, depicting steady fall against this year peak levels of about 150 MnT observed in early Apr'19. Amid low stock in China, mills continue buying expensive material to continue full-load operation.
Monthly average global iron ore fines (Fe 62%) prices in May'19 recorded at USD 99/MT, up USD 6/MT against USD 93/MT, CFR China in Apr'19. Towards last week of May'19, iron ore supply crises led China spot iron ore prices reach USD 108/MT, hovering around five years high and Dalian iron ore hit record high levels on 27th May'19 to 758.5 yuan/MT, highest since its launch in 2013.