Frik Els | January 16, 2013 –

The benchmark CFR import price of 62% iron ore fines at China’s Tianjin fell $7.50 or just under 5% on Wednesday, continuing a sharp correction since hitting 15-month highs early January.

On Monday iron ore was changing hands at $145.40 a tonne after losing ground five days in a row. The steelmaking raw material is still almost 70% up from September lows.

The pullback is being ascribed to Chinese steel mills the country’s furnaces consume of just shy of 60% of the global seaborne trade to switch to cheaper domestic supply of ore.

China’s mines are producing at full tilt again after the nations coldest winter in 28 years limited supply.

Imports at the country’s largest buyer of the commodity reached an all time record according to customs data reports Bloomberg.

This despite inventories at the country ports rising only slightly after hitting near two-year lows around 70 million tonnes at the end of last year.