COLUMN-China’s imports of major commodities show accelerating trend – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – December 9, 2019)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Dec 10 (Reuters) – The growth rate of China’s imports of major commodities has accelerated in recent months, indicating Beijing’s stimulus efforts may be bearing fruit and that the impact of its trade dispute with the United States may not be as bad as feared.

On the surface, China’s imports of major commodities in November presented a mixed picture, with month-on-month gains in crude oil and copper, and declines in iron ore and coal.

But it’s probably more useful to look at the prevailing trends in the year-on-year and year-to-date movements, and here a clearer pattern emerges. Chinese crude oil imports reached a record 11.13 million barrels per day in November and are up 10.5% for the first 11 months of the year compared to the same period last year, customs data showed on Monday.

For the first 10 months, the year-to-date gain was also 10.5% and for the first nine months it was 9.7%. This shows not only that crude oil imports have been growing strongly, but also that the rate of growth has risen slightly in the past three months.

For copper, November imports were at a 13-month high of 483,000 tonnes for unwrought metal and 2.16 million tonnes for ores and concentrates, gains of 12.1% and 12.7% from October, respectively.

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