Reuters quoted data from the country customs authority showed recently that China imports of iron ore rose 6.8% to 54.55 million tonnes in July with restocking and an increase in seaborne supplies taking the figure to its highest point in four months.
With crude steel output still hovering above 1.9 million tonnes a day, China mills have been keen to replenish their iron ore inventories after letting them dwindle in the last few months but imports remain quite a bit short of their record.
An iron ore trader in Shandong said "Steel mills picked up buying in July, but the gains have been capped as steel mills have been trying to keep their inventories low."
Mr Graeme Train steel analyst with Macquarie in Shanghai said credit restrictions have made it difficult for end users and traders to raise their stocks significantly and the steady increase in the amount of available supplies has been a bigger driver of import growth in July.
He said that "We have seen a gradual improvement in shipments from Australia and Brazil after a pretty poor performance in the first quarter and early second quarter and this is being reflected in the data."
Mr Graeme Train said "The Chinese are always trying to get hold of any material they can and this (July figure) reflects that there is more available."
Global miners have been banking on rising long term demand from China their biggest customer to support their capacity expansion plans.
(Sourced from Reuters)