Iron ore import levels and prices rebounded as the end of the year is just around the corner and as China, the largest buyer of iron ore in the world, increased imports to record levels. The picture was pretty gloomy in the beginning and through the spring of this year, when iron ore stockpiles were at their lowest level since 2009. But late summer demand for iron ore, predominantly from Chinese steel companies, whose production schedule has been booming, pulled the market out of its slump. November saw record numbers of iron ore imports, stockpiling and price increases. Analysts are predicting a strong finish for the year, as iron ore producers face not only increased global demand but also strong demand, at least for now, from the Chinese market.
November imports of iron ore totaled 77.84 tons, a significant increase from October’s total of 67.83 tons. Year-to-date total imports of iron ore is 746.1 million tons, up 10.9% from last year, according to customs agency officials.
Iron ore inventories at the major Chinese ports rose to their highest level in a year. As of December 6, 85.4 million tons of iron ore was sitting in Chinese ports overseen by Shanghai Steelhome.
Increase in demand is reflected in the prices, with 62% grade iron ore arriving in the port of Tianjin, China on December 4 for the price of $139.70 a dry ton, the best performance in nearly four months. Prices settled down to $139.20 on December 6th.