(Reuters) - China’s imports of iron ore, crude, coal, copper and soybeans all rose in July from a month earlier, according to data released on Friday by China’s General Administration of Customs.
* Copper: China imported 420,000 tonnes, versus 326,000 tonnes in June
* Crude oil: China imported 41.04 million tonnes, versus 39.5 million tonnes in June
* Iron ore: China imported 91.02 million tonnes, versus 75.18 million tonnes in June
* Soybeans: China imported 8.64 million tonnes, versus 6.51 million tonnes in June
* Coal: China imported 32.89 million tonnes of coal, versus 27.10 million tonnes in June
Preliminary table of commodity trade data
Commentary on iron ore
“Iron ore imports recovered in July as demand was still seen in steel mills, while anti-smog curbs have also been relaxed this year. Meanwhile, shipments from Brazil have been beyond market expectations and are speeding up. This could offset the impact from Australia’s scheduled maintenance after the H1 earning season. The trade war with the United States may affect business confidence but will not affect imports of iron ore, there’s still strong demand from mills.
“July’s imports broke 90 million tonnes and were the highest in 2019, but considering the previous month’s imports were only around 75 million tonnes, average purchases were still within normal range.”
Commentary on soybeans
SHI HENGYU, CHIEF ANALYST VEGETABLE OILS, LUZHENG FUTURES:
“The main reasons for high imports were that earlier crush margins of South American beans were higher and we were in peak supply season in the production regions. The figures were still a bit lower than expected, as offloading at the ports was delayed as crushers were operating at lower rates due to poor demand for meals.”
Commentary on copper
“The July numbers are strong, but the June and July numbers are just like chalk and cheese. Right now it does look positive, but it’s coming off some pretty terrible numbers in June. I would hold off making any assumptions until we see industrial production in a few days.
“China has been supporting infrastructure investment, but in terms of groundbreaking additional growth projects, I don’t think they have gone to that extent. It’s more focusing on soft measures like reducing taxes, easing some property purchase issues.”
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Reporting by Asia Commodities and Energy team; Editing by Richard Pullin