The appetite for raw materials in the world’s biggest consumer keeps getting bigger. China’s imports of crude oil and iron ore rose to records in 2016, while coal buying expanded for the first time in three years, according to government data released Friday. Growing domestic demand sent steel and aluminum exports down, while outbound shipments of oil products soared as the country sought to reform its refining industry and fuel specifications. Iron ore imports surged to a record above 1 billion metric tons on unexpectedly strong steel production and lower local mine output. Meanwhile, exports of steel and aluminum ended years of expansion, with producers selling more at home as government stimulus sparked a surprise rebound in buildings, infrastructure and manufacturing. Iron ore shipments are seen probably rising further as low-cost supply from countries including Australia and Brazil continues to grow. Demand from steel mills, however, could ease as […]