3 Min Read
(Adds comment on iron ore imports)
May 8 (Reuters) - China's imports of oil, copper and iron ore fell in April on a month earlier, while coal and soybean shipments rose, customs data showed on Monday.
Copper: China imported 300,000 tonnes, versus 430,000 tonnes in March
Crude oil: China imported 34.39 million tonnes, versus 38.95 million tonnes in March
Iron ore: China imported 82.23 million tonnes, versus 95.56 million tonnes in March
Soybeans: China imported 8.02 million tonnes, versus 6.33 million tonnes in March
Coal: China imported 24.78 million tonnes, versus 22.09 million tonnes in March
Preliminary table of commodity trade data
Commentary on crude
"April looks more like a return to normal import levels. I expect imports to trend down further in the coming few months as refinery maintenance season unfolds and teapots run out of import quotas gradually. A pickup will come after July as the second batch of quotas get issued."
Commentary on soybeans
"April imports are in line with market expectation. Figures were the highest for the month of the year, which is mainly driven by high demand for overseas soybeans from the domestic market. Soybean imports continue to rise year by year, as meat production continues to expand in China, driven by Chinese people increasing demand for protein, though at a slower pace in last couple of years."
Commentary on iron ore
"It's possible that there were some delays in customs clearing in April because if you look at the market there was not so much change between March and April. The steel market was, for the most period, profitable and domestic production was relatively steady.
"Imports will remain high like around 80 million tonnes level given there's additional supply and they are very competitive compared with domestic iron ore."
For details, see the official Customs website (www.customs.gov.cn)
China is the world's biggest net crude oil consumer and top buyer of copper, coal, iron ore and soy. (Reporting by Asia Commodities and Energy team; Editing by Richard Pullin)