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China May Restart Stockpiling: Report

China may begin stockpiling raw materials again next year, according to a London newspaper.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- China may start 2010 where it left off this past summer: stockpiling raw materials.

At least that's what

equities traders in London told

the U.K.'s


newspaper Wednesday. China's Ministry of Commerce, according to these traders, recently indicated that the country should increase its imports of raw materials at an "appropriate" time.

Market players evidently interpreted this as a signal that China would begin a new round of commodities buying at the start of 2010.

Targets were even pegged for China's stockpiling plans, the


report said: 1 million tons of aluminum, 400,000 tons of copper, 400,000 tons of zinc, 20,000 tons of nickel, and enough oil to supply the country for 90 days.

In the middle of 2009, China went on a frenzied commodities shopping spree, buying up raw materials as prices fell to their lowest levels in years amid the global economic crisis.

Should China restart its stockpiling plans, it would boost the prospects of mining companies and the dry-bulk shipping concerns that haul those materials. Indeed, the brisk pace of Chinese importation this summer drove shipping rates higher than any other point during an otherwise bleak 2009.

The New York-listed issues of diversified mining giants

BHP Billiton




Rio Tinto

all gained ground. American depositary receipts of BHP were up 0.9% to $75.90; Rio advanced 1.7% to $215.46; and Vale rose 1.7% to $29.02.

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Shares of copper giant

Freeport McMoRan

gained 1.2% to $81.88, and aluminum bellwether


stock price increased 1.8% to $16.29.

Dry-bulk shipping names were moderately lower during the half-day Christmas Eve session. Shares of


(DRYS) - Get DryShips Inc. Report

were down 1% to $6.05,

Diana Shipping

(DSX) - Get Diana Shipping Inc. Report

fell 1.4% to $14.59; and

Genco Shipping & Trading

(GNK) - Get Genco Shipping & Trading Ltd Report

declined 0.9% to $22.20.

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York

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