China Iron-Ore Stockpiles Post Biggest Monthly Gain in 2016

  • Port holdings expand for seventh week to 106.05 million tons
  • Inventories rise along with prices in ‘apparent contradiction’

Iron-ore stockpiles at ports in China expanded again to cap the biggest monthly increase this year, with holdings piling up in the world’s biggest user of the raw material even as prices increased in July.

The stockpiles increased 0.4 percent to 106.05 million metric tons this week, expanding to the highest level since December 2014, according to Shanghai Steelhome Information Technology Co. They are 4.5 percent higher this month, the biggest increase since December, when they climbed 6.2 percent.

The raw material has rallied in 2016 as demand in China proved more resilient than expected, with steelmakers notching record daily output last month. Still, miner BHP Billiton Ltd. forecast in May that the port stockpiles may go on rising through the rest of the year, highlighting increased supplies.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. flagged this week what it called the “apparent contradiction” of high and rising inventories and resilient prices, and pointed to low stockpiles of steel products in China, according to a report.

Ore with 62 percent content at Qingdao fell 2.2 percent to $59.37 a ton on Friday, dropping from the highest level since May 3, according to Metal Bulletin Ltd. The price is 36 percent higher this year, rising 6.7 percent in July after back-to-back quarterly increases.

— With assistance by Jake Lloyd-Smith, and Ranjeetha Pakiam

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