Trade and freight market optimists looking for a further boost from China’s dry bulk imports this year have not been disappointed. Global seaborne dry bulk trade, and shipping activity, has benefited greatly from additional commodity volumes purchased by Chinese buyers, especially iron ore, coal and soyabeans.
During the first seven months of 2017, a sturdy pace unfolded. However, in recent weeks, there were a few signs of a possible and not entirely unexpected slackening over the year’s remaining months. Prospects depend partly on assumptions about government policy measures affecting the economy and trade in particular, not all of which are easy to predict.
Support has been derived from the economy’s brisk performance. Economic activity in China, based on the GDP measure, now appears likely to maintain last year’s 6.7% rate in 2017 as a whole, instead of slowing as widely expected earlier. However, various restraining measures have been introduced and, after the second quarter’s 6.9% increase, subsequent quarterly periods may show a slackening pattern.
In the world’s biggest single commodity trade, China’s iron ore imports, remarkable strength has continued. The January–July 2017 total reached 626mt (million tonnes), a 44mt or 7.5% increase compared with last year’s same period. Nevertheless, there are doubts about whether the annual growth rate will be as high.