According to the preliminary trade statistics reported on 14 February by the General Administration of China Customs, the country's import quantity of iron ore for January 2019 stood at 91.26 mil tons, down 9.1% (9.18 mil tons) year-on-year (y/y). It is still at a high level as a monthly quantity: In fact, it exceeded the 90-mil-ton mark for the first time since September 2018. The average import price per ton was $74.18, up 2.9% ($2.07) y/y from $72.11.|
Regarding China's steel production for 2018, the so-called "production cuts in Oct-Mar quarters for environmental protection" as part of anti-air pollution measures were thought to have been relaxed compared to the previous year. However, according to a source close to the industry, the environmental regulations have been tightened again since mid-December, and there are signs of a downward trend in the production currently observed.
Meanwhile, the iron ore price has remained strong since late December, indicating even potential production increases.