In May we had lockdown in the West but China and the Far East were racing through the gears of recovery post Covid lockdown. Overall demand increased by 3% in May mainly owing to construction related industries. Cement, forestry and steel all performed better in May compared to the previous month. Iron ore slipped 1% but it’s still running at robust levels.
The 7% rise in coal in May was perhaps unexpected but largely attributed to the coking coal trade between Australia and China. As relations between the two countries deteriorated buyers were worried about future supply difficulties. Meanwhile utilisation in Chinese steel mills remained robust supporting the trade. Overall, China imported 7 million tonnes compared to 3.3 million tonnes in April.