Iron ore price: Chinese imports rebound

China's iron ore imports bounced back in May as steel mills that were idled during the winter months as part of a government drive against pollution, hit output records.

Imports of high-grade iron ore fines and lump ore from Australia, Brazil and South Africa rose 13.5% from April to 94.14m tonnes. May 2017 imports totalled 91.52m tonnes. Cargoes for the first five months of 2018 now total 448m tonnes. Annual shipments for 2017 totalled just over 1 billion tonnes

Inventories at Chinese ports hit a record 162 million tonnes last week

Daily crude steel output by major steel mills hit a record 1.96 million tonnes in the first 20 days of May, according to data from China's Iron & Steel Association.

The Metal Bulletin benchmark price at the port of Qingdao for 62% Fe ore gained on Friday to trade at $67.44 a tonne, down 7.5% year to date. The gap between 62% and 58% Fe fines widened to $28.38 per tonne on Friday while 66% Fe concentrate ended the week higher at $92.79.

The strong imports have caused growing stockpiles at Chinese ports which reached new peaks last week. Inventories hit a record 162 million tonnes according to SteelHome data.

China consumes more than two-thirds of the seaborne iron ore market and produces as much steel as the rest of the world combined.