China’s imports of key commodities set to make a patchy recovery on growing mobility

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China’s imports of key commodities probably improved in patches last month, after demand was battered earlier in the quarter by shutdowns in Shanghai and elsewhere in the country.

Greater mobility among the population may have seen crude oil imports edge higher, but coal and gas purchases are likely to have stayed weak, capped by surging international prices and elevated domestic production. Imports of farm goods probably benefited from a sharp retreat in global prices.

Among metals, copper imports are expected to post a modest pickup even though demand remains sluggish. Shipments of concentrate may have dropped from the record set in May. Iron ore arrivals were likely steady as traders continued to eye forecasts of a lift in infrastructure spending. Aluminum exports could also have fallen from their May record as overseas demand wanes amid recession fears.

The backdrop to the trade figures on Wednesday will be revealed in the GDP report at the end of the week, which could show that the economy shrank in the second quarter as virus restrictions exacted a heavy toll. And as Shanghai nervously eyes the threat of another round of lockdowns, it’s clear that the government’s rigid adherence to Covid Zero will continue to cast a pall over consumption as the second half gets underway.


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