As close to 200 delegates from around the world – representing iron ore miners, steelmakers' purchasing departments, banks, consultancies and ship brokers – gathered in Vienna on June 1-3, the key discussion topic was – what else? – China.
China's economic growth has slowed down along with steel consumption, as the building frenzy of the late noughties has transformed into worries about asset bubbles and rising debt.
“Middle income earnings and urbanisation will support China’s growth for the next five years,” Melinda Moore, head of iron ore at ICBC Standard Bank told delegates, “but China spent so much in 2009 that [it now faces] structural and cyclical decline. It’s uncertain what to look out for.”
Metal Bulletin’s 62% Fe iron ore index has dropped by more than 30% since the conference last year to $64.45 per tonne cfr China on June 5, despite a slight recovery from an all-time low of $47.08...