China's crude oil imports hit multi-month lows in June, but the country was adamant about increasingly supply. For the month of July, crude and iron ore imports rose by 10.9 percent to record highs, according to Reuters.
The stark increase beat analysts' forecasts by 500 percent, though the sharp gain was likely due to previously booked shipments finally arriving in July. Regardless, the record numbers are a strong indication that China still has a healthy appetite for raw materials in the second half of 2013.
"These trade numbers are going to give some people a shock especially those predicting the end of the world for China," said Michael McCarthy, strategist at CMC Global Markets in Sydney.
Underlying data suggests that the rebound may have been caused by higher processing rates for the country's oil refineries and steel mills. There was also chatter suggesting stocks had become tight, and a need to replenish pushed producers to import the raw materials.
Asia's biggest oil refiner, Sinopec Corp, is forecasted to process 60 million tons of oil in the third quarter.
"They will need to at least maintain those inventories and that swing in purchasing activity means that iron ore demand is actually a lot better than people are expecting," said Graeme Train, an analyst with Macquarie.