By Manolo Serapio Jr
MANILA, Nov 25 (Reuters) - China's iron ore imports from
India surged in October and purchases from Australia grew
slightly, data showed on Friday, with total shipments to the
world's top buyer of the steelmaking commodity on course to top
1 billion tonnes this year.
Shipments from Australia, which account for nearly
two-thirds of China's imports, rose 3 percent to 49.89 million
tonnes last month, according to China's official customs data.
Shipments from No. 2 supplier Brazil increased 17 percent to
17.88 million tonnes.
China's total iron ore imports were 80.8 million tonnes in
October, the lowest since February, but the biggest volume ever
for the month of October.
That brought total imports to 843.31 million tonnes in
January to October, up 9 percent from a year earlier, and on
track to top last year's 952.84 million tonnes.
"We can easily see over 1 billion tonnes for the full year.
I don't think there's any disruption from the production side
overseas," said Helen Lau, analyst at Argonaut Securities. Lau
has forecast a 9 percent increase in China's iron ore imports to
1.038 billion tonnes this year.
Imports from India reached 1.02 million tonnes last month,
up sharply from 75,565 tonnes a year ago. For January to
October, shipments from India surged eight-fold to 11.4 million
India used to be the third-biggest supplier of iron ore to
China until mining bans in recent years and higher taxes curbed
output and exports. India's Supreme Court lifted the mining ban
in top iron ore exporting state Goa in 2014 and fresh mining
began months after.
"Indian shipments are rising due to better prices," said
Dhruv Goel, managing partner at consultancy SteelMint. India's
total iron ore exports have exceeded 15 million tonnes in
January to October and may reach 17 to 18 million tonnes for the
full year, he said.
(Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Christian