(Updating to add comment)
BEIJING Feb 10 China's iron ore imports rose 12
percent in January from a year earlier to the second highest on
record, official data showed on Friday, as steel mills
replenished stocks and seaborne supply continued to displace
higher-cost production at home.
Arrivals reached 92.0 million tonnes, up from 82.19 million
a year ago and 88.95 million tonnes in December, data from the
General Administration of Customs showed.
China's vow last month to shut low-grade steel producers
which use scrap metal by the end of June should help boost
demand for iron ore.
"A lot of this has ... replaced the marginal producers in
China because China's iron ore mining has been very low because
of seasonality," Helen Lau, analyst at Argonaut Securities in
"We will not be surprised if this continues into February,
with the number above 90 mln tonnes."
China's iron ore stocks at ports hit a record high last week
SH-TOT-IRONINV. Iron ore prices are trading just shy
of three-year highs hit in January.
Imports of steel products fell 8.4 percent to 1.09 million
tonnes while exports fell 4.9 percent to 7.42 million tonnes.
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(Reporting by Josephine Mason and Melanie Burton in MELBOURNE;
Editing by Richard Pullin)