March 8, 2019 / 4:42 AM / 3 months ago

China's iron ore imports hit 10-mth low in Feb on holiday break, steep prices

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BEIJING, March 8 (Reuters) - China’s imports of iron ore fell to a 10-month low in February, customs data showed on Friday, curbed by slowing trade during a week-long national holiday and a steep run-up in prices.

China brought in 83.08 million tonnes of iron ore last month, its lowest level since April, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

That compares with 91.26 million tonnes in January and is 1.5 percent lower than the 84.27 million tonnes in the same month last year.

China celebrated its Lunar New Year in early February causing steel mills and traders to shut down business for holiday breaks of up to two weeks, which crimped ore demand.

“Mills typically replenish their stocks ahead of the holiday, which leads to an obvious increase on imports in January and a dip in February,” said Fan Lu, analyst at Sinosteel Futures.

“The sharp drop on February iron ore also came as major iron ore suppliers reduced shipment due to hurricane weather.”

For the first two months of 2019, iron ore arrivals reached 174.4 million tonnes, down from 184.61 million tonnes in the same period a year earlier.

For more details, click on (Reporting by Muyu Xu and Dominique Patton; editing by Richard Pullin)

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