China`s iron ore imports rose 1.1 percent in August from a year earlier as soaring steel prices increased appetite for high-grade foreign ore, customs data showed on Friday.
Arrivals of iron ore last month reached 88.66 million tonnes, compared to 87.72 million a year ago, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.
August imports were 2.8 percent higher than 86.25 million tonnes in July.
The world`s largest steel maker imported a total of 713.98 million tonnes iron ore in the first eight months this year, up 6.7 percent on a year ago.
The surge in iron ore imports came as Chinese steel mills ramped up output to take advantage of improved margins amid a government crackdown on low-tech steel products. This led to bigger orders for raw materials, particular high-grade iron ore.
Shanghai benchmark steel rebar futures rose 8.5 percent in August.
Some mills even postponed their maintaince schedule to cash in on the strong margins.
Stockpiles of imported iron ore at China`s major ports in August fell to the lowest level since early May at 133.45 million tonnes.
Iron ore prices gained more than 5.5 percent last month and touched a five-month-peak at 609.5 yuan ($94.46) a tonne in late August.($1 = 6.4525 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)