COLUMN-China’s iron ore appetite stays voracious even as steel output cut by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – November 6, 2017)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Nov 7 (Reuters) – There is no sign as yet of a slowdown in China’s imports of iron ore, despite an increase in the amount of steel-making capacity being idled as part of efforts to combat air pollution during winter.

It would seem logical that if steel mills are forced to cut production in order to lower emissions, demand for iron ore in the world’s top importer would also slow to reflect the reduced steel output.

While this still may occur in coming months, it certainly didn’t happen in October, with vessel-tracking and port data compiled by Thomson Reuters Supply Chain and Commodity Forecasts pointing to another bumper month.

China, which buys about two-thirds of global seaborne iron ore, imported 88.2 million tonnes via ships in October, up from seaborne imports of 86.3 million tonnes in September, the data shows.

The vessel-tracking data doesn’t align exactly with Chinese customs numbers, given it doesn’t capture iron ore imported overland from neighbours such as Mongolia and Russia, and it also doesn’t account for some small cargoes from non-traditional suppliers.

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