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China Iron Ore Imports Increase 8.4% to Record on Steel Output

China, the world’s biggest iron ore buyer, boosted imports by 8.4 percent to a record last year amid higher steel production and on speculation the economy is recovering. December purchases were also at an all-time high.

Imports rose to 743.55 million metric tons in 2012, according to customs data released today. Shipments last month climbed to 70.94 million tons, up 7.8 percent from 65.78 million tons in November and 11 percent higher than 64.11 million tons a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.