China's iron ore imports hit 20-month peak in September

Chinese imports of iron ore hit a 20-month peak in the month of September with steelmakers going out on a buying spree as spot prices bottomed out.

Trade data released by China's General Administration of Customs over the weekend fortified hopes for the Asian giant's economy, revealing that total exports gained 9.9% year-on-year in September.

China's iron ore imports leaped 4.1% to 61.01 million tonnes to tap their highest levels since January 2011. Steelmakers in the PRC bought up imported ore in lieu of dearer domestic product as international spot prices bottomed out.

The figure for copper shipments were also favorable, up 11% month-on-month at 394,837 tonnes.

These rosy commodities trade figures belie persistent weakness in the Chinese market, however, with the China Iron and Steel Association saying that the iron ore is still beset by oversupply due to declining steel production for a third consecutive month.

The gain in copper shipments was also not significant of improved demand, as the rise came primarily on the back of orders issued towards the end of last year.