January-October imports rose by 73.9pc from a year earlier to 17.71mn.
China's imports of finished and semi-finished steel and iron-based metallics have increased this year to meet consumer demand not met by its 1bn t/yr steel output.
UK-Australian iron ore mining firm BHP has signed an agreement with Chinese steelmaker China Baowu to invest up to $35mn in jointly seeking technical solutions to reduce carbon emissions in steelmaking, as climate change pressure grows in the coking coal industry.
The deal follows a similar 2019 deal between Baowu and BHP's Pilbara iron ore rival Rio Tinto. The focus of the two deals is subtly different, reflecting the different portfolios of the two mining firms.