Commodity price falls a $160 billion bonus for China

BEIJING : Slumping prices saved China more than $160 billion on its imports of commodities such as oil, iron ore, coal and copper last year, official figures showed on Wednesday.

Slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy has hammered global raw materials prices, sending shockwaves through resource-rich producer countries from Australia to Zambia.

But the falls have proved a boon to China itself, which is reportedly taking advantage of the low costs to stockpile oil. The average price of China’s oil imports plummeted 45.3 percent in 2015 on the previous year, Customs spokesman Huang Songping said that with volumes rising 8.8 percent to 335.5 million tonnes according to the Customs website.

Overall, the country spent $134.5 billion on crude oil imports during the year. The quantity was a record, it has eased rules to let private refiners import crude, while boosting shipments to fill national stockpiles. Iron ore imports were up 2.2 percent by volume and totalled $57.6 billion by value but on average cost 39 percent less than in 2014.

Copper imports were flat by quantity but 17.1 percent cheaper per tonne, with a total of $19.2 billion-worth brought in. Coal prices also dropped 21.8 percent, with volumes of the fuel also slumping, by 29.9 percent.

Demand for some materials has weakened in the Asian giant due to manufacturing overcapacity and a cooling property Calculations by AFP show that for the four commodities in total, the quantities imported would have cost $160.5 billion more at 2014’s average prices. For crude oil alone, the saving amounted to $113.9 billion.



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