China is on track to hit the 1bn ton mark of iron ore imports much earlier this year than in 2016.
Analysts Alphabulk note that China imported 1.024bn tons of iron ore last year, a figure it is on course to easily surpass.
China took 539m tons of imports in the first six months of this year alone, 9.3% higher than the 493m tons seen at the same point in 2016.
“Longer term, imports will depend on the continued profitability of the steel industry, which is currently enjoying a golden period due to the government-led rationalisation of mills,” Alphabulk noted in its most recent weekly report.
The use of scrap steel in place of iron ore is also expected to become a growing issue, as China generates excess scrap from the demolition of old infrastructure, the analyst added.
China produced a record 143m tons of scrap in 2016, four times the amount it was producing 15 years ago.