August 8, 2018 / 4:21 AM / in 2 months

Instant View: China's copper, coal, oil and iron ore imports rise in July

(Reuters) - China’s imports of copper, iron ore, coal and oil rose in July from the previous month, customs data showed on Wednesday, but soy imports dipped.

FILE PHOTO: Shipping containers are seen at a port in Shanghai, China July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song

KEY POINTS:

* Copper: China imported 452,000 tonnes, versus 440,000 tonnes in June

* Crude oil: China imported 36.02 million tonnes, versus 34.34 million tonnes in June

* Iron ore: China imported 89.96 million tonnes, versus 83.24 million tonnes in June

* Soybeans: China imported 8.01 million tonnes, versus 8.70 million tonnes in June

* Coal: China imported 29.01 million tonnes, versus 25.46 million tonnes in June

Preliminary table of commodity trade data

Commentary on coal

WANG FEI, COAL ANALYST, HUAAN FUTURES:

“The increase in coal imports was also driven by price arbitrage between domestic and overseas coal. But since prices for imported coal have already climbed to the same level as domestic - or even at some ports we have seen Australian prices are higher than domestic prices - that means coal imports may go down soon.”

CHENG GONG, COAL ANALYST, ZHESHANG SECURITIES:

“July imports were ahead of my expectations, even though we already knew China would increase imports to stablize prices. The high volume could mean that authorities have really made up their mind to push prices to a ‘rational level’.”

Commentary on copper

HELEN LAU, ANALYST AT ARGONAUT SECURITIES IN HONG KONG:

“China is adding new smelting capacity and it is also the case that the copper price is going down and the spot treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) are going higher, so that is maybe the reason smelters are importing more concentrate to process.”

Commentary on iron ore

CAO YING, CHIEF STEEL ANALYST, SDIC ESSENCE FUTURES:

“Iron ore supplies and demand will keep balance in the short term, but uncertainties from the external trade situation, especially changes in currency exchange rates amid the trade row between Beijing and Washington, may stimulate demand to replenish supplies before the yuan devalues further.”

Commentary on aluminum exports

JACKIE WANG, ALUMINUM CONSULTANT AT CRU, BEIJING:

“The major reason for the increase in aluminum exports is probably the devaluation of the yuan. From the beginning of July to the end of July the renminbi depreciated by around 6 percent. Another reason is the price arbitrage to international markets.”

Commentary on soy

TIAN HAO, SENIOR ANALYST, FIRST FUTURES:

“Chinese buyers have bought a lot of Brazilian beans to avoid the impact of the Sino-U.S. trade war. Arrivals of soybeans have been quite large in the past couple of months. Pressure on domestic stocks is high, so imports for July have come down a little.”

Commentary on crude

JAMES GAO, CHINA SUBLIME INFORMATION GROUP, SHANDONG:

“Some teapots have returned from maintenance and (gross) refining margins are also improving thanks to higher domestic refined products prices.”

LINKS:

For details, see the official Customs website(www.customs.gov.cn)

BACKGROUND:

China is the world’s biggest net crude oil consumer and topbuyer of copper, coal, iron ore and soy.

Reporting by Asia Commodities and Energy team; Editing by Richard Pullin

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