Thursday, October 16, 2008
Russian and Chinese firms, are moving to cut production.
Although China’s iron ore imports in the first nine months of the year were up by 22% on 2007, there are fears among Australian mining firms that the cuts in Chinese steel production could presage a pause in China’s boom. Mount Gibson, an Australian producer, has given warning that stockpiles of ore are piling up in China. Iron-ore prices on the spot market have fallen by roughly half this year, to $100 a tonne or less. The prices of copper, nickel and zinc have also fallen by half or more this year, and aluminium is down by a third. Those drops, in turn, have battered the share prices of mining companies. Rio Tinto is even more sanguine: it does not foresee China’s growth falling below 8%. Tom Albanese, its boss, says the Chinese economy is merely “pausing for breath”.