SHANGHAI, Feb 8 (Reuters) - China’s iron ore imports rose 19 percent in January from the previous month to 100 million tonnes, customs data showed on Thursday, the second highest on record as the world’s top buyer boosted stocks ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.
The ramp-up of stocks comes after Chinese steel mills - major consumers of iron ore - cut back production as Beijing imposed industrial output curbs in 28 cities from mid-November as part of its battle against smog.
China’s iron ore imports in 2017 rose 5 percent to a record 1.075 billion tonnes, exceeding 1 billion tonnes for a second year. Chinese exports of steel tumbled 30.5 percent to 75.43 million tonnes last year from 2016. (Reporting by Ruby Lian and Josephine Mason Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)