China's semi-finished steel product imports in July surged more than tenfold from a year earlier to the highest level since at least 2016, customs data showed on Tuesday, fuelled by lower overseas prices and robust demand at home.
The world's top steel producer brought in 2.46 million tonnes of semi-finished steel products last month. Data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
That was up 4.2% from June and the highest monthly total on customs database records dating back to January 2017.
Imports from India stood at 660,851 tonnes in July, accounting for 27% of China's total purchases, the customs data showed. Shipments from Russia were at 479,044 tonnes, amounting to 20% of the total.
Rising imports have been spurred by robust steel demand for Chinese infrastructure projects after Beijing's economic stimulus investments and a recovering domestic manufacturing sector. The rest of the world, meanwhile, is still battling the COVID-19 pandemic, limiting its steel consumption.
"Overall demand in other countries is not particularly good, but mills need to maintain production, so the spare products were shipped to China at lower prices," said Richard Lu, senior analyst at CRU in Beijing.
In addition to semi-finished steel, finished-steel product imports also jumped in July. China imported 2.61 million tonnes of those products in July, the highest level since