Iron ore prices surged on Monday as Chinese steelmakers continue to demand cargoes at a record-breaking pace amid a building boom in the world’s second-largest economy.
According to Fastmarkets MB, benchmark 62% Fe fines imported into Northern China were changing hands for $121.75 a tonne on Monday, a 3.4% jump from Friday’s closing, and up 32% since the start of the year.
Trade data released over the weekend showed China’s iron ore imports jumped 15% in October compared to the same month last year to 106.7 million tonnes.
For the first 10 months of 2020, iron ore imports shipment now total 975.2 million tonnes, rising 11.2% over the same period last year.
At the current pace, 2020 full year total would handily beat last year’s 1.069 billion tonnes, which was just below 2017’s record 1.075 billion tonnes.
Reuters reports port stockpiles have grown to 129m tonnes after six straight weeks of gains:
Meanwhile, as most mills have completed environmental upgrades to meet emission standards, steel producers in northern China are also expecting fewer disruptions to their production this winter.
But with weaker seasonal demand in the fourth quarter and low profit margins for steelmakers, domestic demand may have peaked, CITIC Futures wrote in a note.