China’s iron ore imports soar in first four months of year

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Propelled by rapid economic growth, China’s imports of iron ore surged 23.3 percent in the first four months of 2007 from a year earlier, according to the General Administration of Customs (GAC).  Iron ore imports rose to 133.6 million tons from 108.3 million tons in the same period last year, the GAC said. It added that April imports hit 33.4 million tons.

As People’s Daily reported:

As the world’s biggest producer and consumer of steel, China imported a record 325 million tons of iron ore and produced 419 million tons of crude steel last year.

Luo Bingsheng, deputy chief of the China Iron and Steel Association, said on Tuesday that domestic steel firms should buy or jointly develop more overseas iron mines.

Luo said that in order to guarantee stable supply in the medium and long term China needed to control at least a third of world iron ore resources.

China imported 5.9 million tons of steel products, but exported 21.3 million tons between January and April, according to the General Administration of Customs. Exports soared 132 percent from the 9.2 million tons in the same period last year.

Steel exports have increased dramatically due to the removal tax rebates on 83 steel product exports and the lowering of the rate on 76 others to five percent as of April 15.  83 steel products will face an export management regime starting May 20 and the increase in steel exports could be seen as reaction to speculation that China will introduce export-tariffs on low-end steel products in an effort to reduce steel exports.  

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