China’s iron ore imports from India rose 90pc to 44.8mn mt in 2020. In 2019, China had imported just 23.8mn mt of Indian iron ore, according to the General Administration of Customs. Iron ore import prices throughout 2020 rose 73pc and 91pc for Fe 62pc and 58pc, respectively.  

 

Imports of iron ore from India in 2020 hit a nine-year high as China procured mostly low-grade iron ore when prices from the Brazil and Australia miners hit a decade’s high on supply shortage in the second half 2020.

 

Affected by the pandemic, Indian miners exported majority of iron ore to China where demand recovered earlier than the rest of the world while domestic demand in IndiA had come to a halt.  

 

China also recorded a rise in purchases from Australia and Brazil — top two suppliers in 2020. Imports from Australia rose 7pc to 713mn mt, while Brazilian supplies were up 3.5pc to 235.7mn mt, followed by India as the third largest supplier.  

 

China has also allowed imports of ferrous scrap under recycled steel since the beginning of 2021.  

 

Production hits the 1bn mark 

China produced a record 1.05bn mt of crude steel in 2020. The country announced heavy stimulus for infrastructure, boosting economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, Indian steel production dropped 12.6pc in the first nine months of FY2021.

 

China imported large volumes of low-grade iron ore — more than 65pc of India’s iron ore exports to China had less than 58pc iron content.  

 

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