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China: Strong commodity trade data – ANZ

ANZ analysts note that China’s commodity import figures for December were strong, mirroring the recent up-tick in industrial activities and restocking.

Key Quotes

“Annual imports for the year were reasonably robust despite trade tensions and slowing economic growth concerns. We expect imports to remain well supported ahead of Chinese New Year (CNY) shutdown.”

Crude oil imports set another monthly record in December, while annual imports grew by 10% to 506mt last year. A hike in the import quota for independent refineries and the addition of new capacity were the main drivers behind oil imports in 2019. Refineries also stocked-up in December to fully utilise their 2019 quotas. Softer prices and winter demand supported LNG imports last month. Annual imports were 96.6mt due to structural switching from coal to gas.”

Copper imports rose to 527mt in December: the highest volume since March 2016. Unwrought copper imports grew 22% m/m to 527kt, while concentrate imports retreated from November’s record by 10.5% to 1.93mt.”

Iron ore imports were largely in line with the stronger shipments from the key exporting countries, reaching a monthly high of 101mt for 2019. We see imports remaining resilient as steel manufacturers continue to restock ahead of the CNY.”

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