China’s iron ore demand has already peaked and is expected to stay flat, an official of the country’s biggest listed steelmaker, Baoshan Iron & Steel Co, said on Thursday.
China bought a record 1.08 billion tonnes of the steelmaking raw ingredient last year, the second successive year in which purchases crossed the 1-billion mark.
“China’s steel mills have been focused on the quality of iron ore and that trend will be even more clear,” Ji Chao, an assistant to the company president, told an industrial conference.
“However, mills still need to consider cost, and hopefully we can find a balance.”
Low-quality iron ore from overseas will remain competitive, he added.
As China adopts tougher environmental rules and stockpiles of steel scrap grow, output from electric-arc furnaces, or mini-mills that use only scrap as raw material, is expected to rise, Ji said.