China ‘needs to cut output of minerals’

Increased Chinese mineral production is just as much a cause for the slide in prices as the aggressive expansions by western mining companies, says Investec’s global mining strategist Jeremy Wrathall.

The difference in this dramatic downswing in global mineral prices compared to other troughs in the cycle was the enormous amount of debt firms took on to build new mines and processing capacity after the 2008 global financial crisis and the rise of China as a producer, he said.

"We didn’t have China before and we didn’t have China massively ramping up their capacity. Yes, that capacity was needed when they were industrialising. Now it’s not," Mr Wrathall said on Friday.

"It’s not just a western mining problem. What makes it very scary is we don’t know what will happen," he said.

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