LAUNCESTON, AUSTRALIA – Aug 25, 2015 – One of the reasons advanced for the plunge in commodity prices is concern over the outlook for Chinese demand for raw materials as growth slows in the world’s second-largest economy.
But these are fears not necessarily in evidence, as can be seen by trawling through the detailed customs data for July.
There were at least 21 commodities that showed increases in imports greater than 20 percent in July this year, compared to the same month in 2014.
While it’s true that many of these commodities are minor, there are some fairly major ones showing strong growth as well, led by crude oil, which saw imports jump 29.3 percent in July from the same month a year earlier.
Among the notable increases were a massive 236,594 percent jump in ethanol imports in July, with that single month accounting for more than half of total imports of the fuel so far this year.
There were other agricultural imports that showed surprising strength in July, with wheat up 158 percent, barley by 67.9 percent, corn by 1,184 percent, cassava by 28.5 percent, rice by 78.2 percent, soy oil by 25.8 percent, palm oil by 53.3 percent, natural rubber by 70.1 percent and sugar by 72.7 percent.
Among the metals, tin ore and concentrates imports increased by 27 percent in July, refined tin by 50.7 percent, zinc ores by 84.5 percent, molybdenum by 139.8 percent, tungsten by 33.4 percent, uranium by 227 percent, chromium ore by 35.8 percent, silver by 63.3 percent and platinum by 37.9 percent.
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