RPT-COLUMN-China's iron ore party rolls on in September, underpinning prices: Russell
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By Clyde Russell
LAUNCESTON, Australia Oct 3 (Reuters) - China's appetite for imported iron ore continued unabated in September, with vessel-tracking data showing seaborne arrivals should at least match the strength shown in recent months.
Shipping data compiled by Thomson Reuters Supply Chain and Commodity Forecasts shows that 85.24 million tonnes of the steel-making ingredient arrived at Chinese ports in September.
This was higher than the 82 million tonnes estimated for August and only slightly below the 85.67 million for July, which was the highest so far this year.
Vessel-tracking data doesn't exactly tally with official Chinese customs numbers, with the 647.8 million tonnes recorded for the first eight months of 2016 being 3.26 percent below the customs figure of 669.65 million tonnes.
Preliminary customs data for September is expected to be released next week.
Much of the difference can be explained by vessel-tracking not capturing iron ore imports that arrive by land, such as the 3.6 million tonnes from Mongolia in the first eight months, or from countries where ascertaining what ships are transporting is challenging, such as North Korea.
Nonetheless, the September ship data suggests that iron ore imports by China, which buys about two-thirds of global cargoes, remained robust, thereby underpinning the sustainability of this year's rally in prices. Continuación...