Factbox: China’s main commodities targeted by recent Beijing measures


BEIJING, Aug. 4 (Reuters) – As a key producer, importer and consumer of most of the world’s major commodities, China is particularly sensitive to sharp price hikes or raw material supply disruptions upon which its industry depends manufacturer and its massive population.

After the prices of essential industrial inputs, from coal to copper, hit record highs this year, Beijing rolled out its most comprehensive and ambitious measures to date in an attempt to bring commodity markets under control, including selling metal from strategic reserves and threatening to punish any entity found. to accumulate supplies or inflate prices. Read more

Below is a list of the main commodities that have been targeted by Beijing’s recent measures.


China is the largest importer and second largest consumer of crude oil.

Over the past 5 years, oil imports have grown at an average annual rate of nearly 10%, and the country accounts for 44% of the global increase in oil imports since 2015, when Beijing issued quotas for oil. import to independent refiners.

Beijing’s crackdown earlier this year on the abuse of import quotas could now see China’s oil import growth plummet to its lowest level in two decades. Read more


China accounts for about half of the world’s copper consumption.

The red metal is used in home appliances, power cables and electronics and has seen huge demand rebound as global economies recover from the pandemic.

After local prices hit record highs this year, Beijing announced sales of scarce strategic reserves. Read more

China consumed 11.98 million tonnes of refined copper in 2020, when its imports jumped 37% to 4.67 million tonnes, according to state-backed research house Antaike.


China, the world’s largest producer and consumer of aluminum, last year produced record levels of the metal used in cars, beverage cans, wire and cables.

In 2020, production was 37.08 million tonnes, up 4.7% according to NBS data, while consumption rose 4.8% to 38.35 million tonnes, according to Antaike.

China’s primary aluminum imports have increased more than 14-fold to reach 1.06 million tonnes in 2020, according to NBS data.


Chinese imports of refined zinc fell 21.1% to 477,406 tonnes in 2020, according to customs data.

It consumed 6.724 million tonnes of refined zinc in 2020, up 1.3% year-on-year, accounting for just over half of global usage, according to the International Lead and Zinc Study Group.

Chinese production of refined zinc rose 2.7% last year to 6.43 million tonnes, according to the NBS.


The world’s largest coal miner and consumer produced 3.84 billion tonnes of coal in 2020, up 2.4%, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

After prices hit record highs this spring, authorities urged local miners to increase production and launched an investigation into hoarding and rising prices. Read more

China imported 303.99 million tonnes of coal in 2020, up 1.5% year on year, and consumed around 4 billion tonnes according to Reuters calculations based on official data in China.


China, the world’s largest producer of steel, is also the largest consumer of iron ore. It contributed 1.17 billion tonnes of steel raw material in 2020.

The country has abundant resources and produced 866.72 million tonnes of crude iron ore last year.

However, the grade of its domestic ore is much lower than that of imported ore, containing only about 30% iron, compared to over 60% of Australia’s main producer.

China’s iron ore consumption in 2020 was estimated at 1.397 billion tonnes and is expected to drop to 1.38 billion tonnes this year, according to a government consultancy.

Beijing launched a crackdown on hoarding in June after prices hiked more than 30% between January 1 and mid-May.


China is the world’s largest importer and consumer of pork and has rebuilt its pig herds after the African swine fever outbreaks from 2018.

China consumed 41.5 million tonnes of pork in 2020, or 43% of the global total, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). It imported 4.39 million tonnes of pork in 2020, more than double, according to customs data.

A sharp increase in the number of pigs and more herds sent to slaughter as farmers worry about the upsurge in African swine fever outbreaks has led to an increase in pork production this year. Pork and pork prices have collapsed by more than half, forcing authorities to buy scarce reserves in an attempt to stabilize the sector.


China is the world’s largest consumer and importer of soybeans, a key food ingredient.

China consumed 114.5 million tonnes of soybeans in the year 2020/21, or 31% of the global total, according to USDA data.

It imported 100.33 million tonnes of oilseeds in 2020, up 13.3% year-on-year, according to the General Administration of Customs of China. Imports are mainly used by the processing sector to produce soybean meal for animal feed and vegetable oil.

Soybean imports in the final months of 2021 are expected to slow after a record first half, with declining profitability in the pork sector reducing demand for soybean meal. Read more


China is the second largest consumer of corn after the United States, accounting for about a quarter of the world’s corn according to USDA data.

Maize imports in 2020 were 11.3 million tonnes, more than double the previous year and for the first time exceeding the official annual quota of 7.2 million tonnes.

Authorities have encouraged producers to expand the planting area in 2021 and have made scarce sales of imported corn stocks in an attempt to cool local prices. Read more


China is the largest consumer of wheat, accounting for a fifth of the total.

In 2020, China imported 8.38 million tonnes of wheat, up 140% year on year, against a quota of 9.64 million tonnes.

Record corn prices have prompted food producers to replace corn in animal rations with higher protein wheat this year, reducing local stocks and also disrupting demand for other protein sources like meal soy.

Reporting by Shivani Singh, Muyu Xu, Tom Daly, Min Zhang, Hallie Gu; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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