China's iron ore imports rebounded in November from the previous month to a fresh record, customs data showed on Sunday, as steel mills purchased more on improving steel demand driven by a more promising economic outlook. Crude oil imports also rebounded from a 13-month low in October to 5.73 million barrels per day (bpd) in November, the fourth highest daily imports this year, as refineries restarted following maintenance.
Soybean imports surged 44 percent from October to more than 6.0 million tonnes last month, driven by good crushing margins and healthy demand. China's total exports handily beat forecasts in November, adding to recent evidence of a stabilisation in the world's second-largest economy as its leaders embark on an ambitious restructuring plan.
China, the world's top consumer of iron ore, imported a record 77.84 million tonnes in November, up 14.8 percent from October and up 18.3 percent from a year earlier, the data showed.
The strong buying appetite has encouraged top miners like Vale, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton to push ahead with their expansion plans next year.
Imports stood at 67.83 million tonnes in October, down 9 percent from the September record of 74.58 million tonnes. Iron ore imports rose 10.9 percent to 746.1 million tonnes in the January-November period, the data showed.
Chinese steel futures rose nearly 1 percent in November. Strong restocking demand has driven spot iron ore prices up 3.4 percent during the month.
Iron ore exports to China from Australia's Port Hedland, which handles about a fifth of the global seaborne market, rose 38 percent to 22.3 million tonnes in November from the same month last year, in another sign of solid demand.
China's imports are expected to rise further in December as mills restock ahead of winter when some domestic iron ore production shuts temporarily.
Crude oil imports in the world's largest energy consumer rose to 23.56 million tonnes in November, or 5.73 million bpd, up 0.8 percent from a year ago, customs data showed.