Paragraph entered by Atlantic migration, in order for SteelFirst articles to display correctly on Metal Bulletin.

The volume capped another record year, bringing 2012’s total to 743.55 million tonnes, an 8.4% increase from 2011.

December arrivals from Australia, the largest supplier, rose 1% from November to a new high of 33.67 million tonnes, according to the latest Chinese customs data.

Shipments from Brazil, which is China’s second-largest supplier, jumped 42.2% month-on-month to a record 20.02 million tonnes.

Imports from South Africa came in third during the month at 2.77 million tonnes, down 27.6% from November.

Market participants believe that several large iron ore traders had imported more of the steelmaking raw material in December on expectations of a further rise in prices.

Metal Bulletin’s 62% Fe Iron Ore Index jumped by 26% over the month to $146.85 per tonne cfr on December 31.

Iron ore imports in December
70.94 million tonnes
Up 7.8% month-on-month
Up 11% year-on-year

Top iron ore suppliers in December
(million tonnes, month-on-month change)
Australia: 33.67, 1%
Brazil: 20.02, 42.2%
South Africa: 2.77, -27.6%
Iran: 1.87, 4.3%
Ukraine: 1.67, 17.6%
Canada: 1.26, -41.7%
Russia: 0.95, -23.1%
Malaysia: 0.83, 7.3%
Indonesia: 0.76, 75.9%
Mexico: 0.73, 58.6%

Source: Chinese customs