Without China global mining would be smaller than in 2000
Chinese demand now constitute nearly half the global total for most industrial metals and in iron ore for instance the country is responsible for some 80% of the seaborne trade.
China’s economic growth started to hit the skids around 2012 and last year came close to a hard landing sending most commodity prices to multi-year and sometimes decade lows.
China’s GDP and demand for raw materials rebounded in the latter part of 2016 causing prices – to the surprise of many – for the likes of iron ore (up 85% year-to-date), coking coal (up three-fold), zinc (+64%) and others to soar.
Expansion rates may have slowed dramatically and doubts are creeping in about the longer term impact of stimulus measures introduced earlier this year, but in absolute numbers growth in Chinese demand remains eye-watering.
Taking a look back to 2000, the early days of the China-induced supercycle, it’s startling to see just how different the mining industry would’ve been without Beijing’s command economy as this table from Bloomberg Intelligence‘s 2017 metal outlook shows.