China is stocking up on grains, metals and other commodities, providing a boost to industrial bulk shipping companies as Beijing braces for a potential new wave of supply-chain disruptions from rising Covid-19 infections among the country’s Western trading partners. China is the world’s biggest commodity importer, making up roughly 40% of the dry-bulk shipping market, and its rebounding economy has been driving a surge in prices for industrial commodities, including copper, aluminum and cotton. […] The growth comes despite the continuing tariff dispute with the U.S. and growing tensions with Australia, one of China’s biggest commodity trade partners. […] Shipping executives and brokers expect overall demand for dry-bulk ships to grow by 3% on average over the next five years, from flat demand in 2020 compared with 2019, according to a Wall Street Journal survey of 13 dry-bulk operators. […] The expanded imports follow a trade agreement Washington and Beijing signed in January that calls for China to step up its purchases of U.S. farm goods.
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