June 8, 2018 / 4:03 AM / 4 months ago

China's iron ore, soy imports jump in May; oil imports dip

(Reuters) - China’s imports of iron ore, soybeans and copper rose in May from the previous month, while oil imports dipped, customs data showed on Friday.

KEY POINTS:

Copper: China imported 475,000 tonnes, versus 442,000 tonnes in April

Crude oil: China imported 39.05 million tonnes, versus 39.46 million tonnes in April

Iron ore: China imported 94.14 million tonnes, versus 82.92 million tonnes in April

Soybeans: China imported 9.69 million tonnes, versus 6.92 million tonnes in April

Coal: China imported 22.33 million tonnes, versus 22.28 million tonnes in April

Preliminary table of commodity trade data [TRADE/CN]

Commentary on aluminium exports

PAUL ADKINS, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF AZ CHINA:

“It’s a good number. You had the bounce with the Rusal sanctions and the metal price getting up to $2,700 [a tonne], so there was always that was that opportunity,” to export.

“It also comes at a time when they can’t export foil and the 10 percent [U.S. import] tariffs, so it’s against the odds.”

Commentary on iron ore imports

HELEN LAU, ANALYST AT ARGONAUT SECURITIES, HONG KONG:

“Because steel production is quite strong and because China’s steel companies are very profitable so they try to increase their production.

“At the same time, China continues to crack down on iron ore mining so iron ore production is not really kicking up.”

Commentary on soybeans

YANG LINQIN, ANALYST, COFCO FUTURES:

“Its in line with our expectations. May is always higher than April, because in May we see large arrivals from Brazil.”

Commentary on steel exports:

KEVIN BAI, ANALYST AT CRU, BEIJING:

“This is broadly in line with our forecast. This export volume is still not a very significant level compared with the past peaks so this indicates that the domestic steel industry is still doing great. The profitability of domestic steel mills remains quite high.

“China’s export prices are still at a high level compared with other sources like Russia, Turkey and India, so Chinese export prices may remain less competitive compared with those countries. Exports will remain relatively stable but won’t increase significantly mainly because of a better domestic steel market, thanks to the government’s supply-side reform.”

BACKGROUND:

China is the world’s biggest net crude oil consumer and topbuyer of copper, coal, iron ore and soy.

Reporting by Asia Commodities and Energy team; Editing by Richard Pullin

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