"The available choice of cargoes for some mills is still rather limited, but I don't think they're in a rush to buy now," said an iron ore trader in Shanghai.
Iron ore for immediate delivery to China's Tianjin port added 10 cents to $63.90 a ton on Tuesday, the highest since Feb. 16, according to The Steel Index (TSI).
Some traders at China's ports cut prices slightly "to stimulate sales," said TSI.
Inventory of imported iron ore at China's ports fell to 83.8 million tonnes as of June 5, according to consultancy SteelHome, which tracks the data. The port inventory, which has fallen 17.5 percent this year, is at its lowest since November 2013.
Read MoreChina's bid to lock in cheap iron ore
Among steel mills covered in a survey by Chinese consultancy Mysteel, the average inventory level of iron ore has dropped to 20 days of consumption from an average of 23 days in the first quarter, Goldman Sachs said in a report on Monday.
"Although the decline in inventory is relatively modest, the Chinese steel industry was operating with a lean supply chain that minimizes working capital, but that exposes steel mills to unexpected supply disruptions," Goldman Sachs said.
On Wednesday, the most-traded September iron ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange was up 0.2 percent at 437 yuan ($70) a ton by the midday break. c