Chinese leaders rally the country behind economic reforms
China's ruling Communist Party has issued a warning on the state of the economy in an effort to rally citizens in support of a series of reforms recently announced by the country's new leaders.
After an annual planning meeting on Friday a statement on the world's second largest economy called for "clear recognition" that there is "downward pressure" on the business and industry and that "thoughts should be bold and the steps should be firm in carrying out reforms."
China is grappling with overproduction in a number of industries including steelmaking, sever environmental degradation across large swathes of the country and pollution problems in all its cities and towns.
In November the so-called Third Plenum of the top leaders announced steps to liberalize the financial sector, reform state-owned enterprises to move the country from an investment to consumer-led economy as growth slows for the torrid pace of recent years.
China dominates the global trade in just about every commodity including iron ore (consuming 70% of the seaborne trade), copper (42%), coal (47%), nickel (36%), lead (44%) and zinc (41%).
While the impact of the reforms on metals and minerals prices will only felt way down the line, demand from China has remained robust this year, despite overall growth slowing to a 20-year low of 7.5%.
China's imports of iron ore in November were 77.8 million tonnes, up 12% from the previous month and a new all-time high.
Coal imports reached 290 million tonnes for the January – November period, up 15% from last year.
China has become a major importer of potash, eclipsing India and is also set to displace the sub-continent as the number importer of gold with an estimated 1,000 tonnes of the yellow finding its way into the country.