China’s iron ore imports shrank last month from a record high in December as steel mills cut production before a national holiday.
Overseas purchases in January fell to 78.57 million metric tons, compared with 86.85 million a month earlier and 86.83 million in the previous year, according to data released by the Beijing-based General Administration of Customs on Sunday. Imports averaged 77.71 million tons a month in 2014, when shipments of the raw material used to make steel totaled a record 932.51 million.
Chinese steel prices closed flat for the day. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price of CNY 840.00 ($134.33) and a low price of CNY 840.00 ($134.33) per dry metric ton. The price of Chinese HRC remained essentially flat at CNY 2,570 ($411.00) per metric ton. The price of Chinese coking coal saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 1,080 ($172.71) per metric ton.
The cash price of steel billet continues hovering around $500.00 per metric ton on the LME for the fifth day in a row. The steel billet 3-month price held steady on the LME at $480.00 per metric ton.
The 3-month price of the US HRC futures contract showed little movement last Friday at $560.00 per short ton. The US HRC futures contract spot price steadied at $542.00 per short ton following two-days of dropping prices.