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China Iron Ore Imports Jump to 20-Month High in September

Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Iron ore imports by China, the world’s biggest buyer of the commodity, climbed to a 20-month high on speculation steel demand may increase.

Imports totaled 65.01 million metric tons in September, China’s customs bureau said today on its website. The shipments, the highest since January 2011, rose 4.1 percent from August and 7.3 percent from the 60.57 million tons a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Prices for the steelmaking material, which plunged to a near three-year low of $86.70 a ton on Sept. 5, have rebounded 32 percent after China announced plans for extra infrastructure spending. The nation’s exports grew at the fastest pace in three months in September, easing concern that the global economy is heading for the first recession since 2009.

“Expectation of higher steel consumption in autumn also triggered some buying activities,” Zhou Yuanjian, a Shanghai-based analyst with Mysteel.com, said by phone before the imports announcement.

Ore with 62 percent content delivered to the Chinese port of Tianjin fell to $114.5 a dry ton yesterday from $115.8 a day earlier, according to the Steel Index Ltd.

Iron ore inventories held at Chinese ports have dropped 3.7 percent to 96.35 million tons as of Oct. 12, from a record 100.1 million tons set in July, according to data from Shanghai Steelhome Information. An “aggressive” industry-wide destocking of iron ore has ended, Graeme Train, a Shanghai-based analyst with Macquarie Group Ltd., said Sept. 28 in Dalian.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Helen Yuan in Shanghai at hyuan@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jim McDonald at jmcdonald8@bloomberg.net

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