Fortescue could restart expansion plans on confidence in China's economy

Despite hard times for the iron ore sector this year the chairman of Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) has expressed his commitment to a swathe of fresh development projects and his confidence in the growth prospects of key export market China.

Speaking to the Australian while in Beijing Andrew Forrest said the projects which had been shelved three months previously following precipitous declines in iron ore prices are likely to recommence at the start of the next year.

Forrest reiterated his confidence in both the Chinese economy and the new group of leaders unveiled at the 18th National Party Congress earlier this month, and said that recent data indicated that China's slowdown has bottomed out.

"China will continue to grow and urbanize and this is off a high base — something people regularly don't factor in. I believe the new leaders will enact policies that will see China attain sustainable growth in the high single digits," said Forrest.

Forrest says a slowing of Chinese growth was to be expected during the leadership transition period, comparing the Middle Kingdom to "an extremely large company changing chairman, chief executive and senior leadership."

He noted that in tandem with recent improvements to China's economic data iron ore prices had also climbed back, rising from a low of USD$89 in August to around USD$120 of late.