COLUMN-China’s Q1 imports of major commodities lose some momentum – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – April 16, 2018)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, April 16 (Reuters) – China’s imports of major commodities may be losing some of their strong growth momentum, with gains in the first quarter of this year failing to keep pace with those from the same period in 2017.

At first glance, China’s imports of crude oil, iron ore, coal and copper looked to have bounced back in March after a poor showing in February.

However, the first two months of the year generally result in some distortions in the data, depending on the timing of the Lunar New Year. This year’s holiday fell entirely within February, resulting in weaker import numbers.

It’s always more illuminating to look at first quarter numbers when assessing China’s commodity imports, and here the story is far more mixed.

Crude oil imports rose 7 percent in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same period a year earlier to the equivalent of about 9.1 million barrels per day (bpd).

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