China’s imports of commodities surged unexpectedly last month putting the world’s second-largest economy on track to set records for shipments of iron ore, coal and soybeans even as concerns linger about slowing economic growth.
For some markets, like soybeans, the robust buying was in line with seasonal expectations as livestock farmers scooped up feed for their animals ahead of peak demand for pork and other meat during the nation’s week-long Spring festival.
In iron ore, the surge to one of the highest on record was partly due to the arrival of shipments delayed by the week-long Golden Week festival at the end of October.
Still, the buying was surprisingly strong even as steel mills and copper fabricators prepared to slow output for weaker demand from the construction sector during the winter months.
“The rise in copper imports reflected in part a rise in Shanghai Futures Exchange inventories and stronger demand from the Chinese power and construction sectors,” said Vivek Dhar, commodities analyst with Commonweealth Bank of Australia in Melbourne.
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