Vale offers contrarian view of China steel output (Bloomberg/Sydney Morning Herald – September 24, 2015)

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Vale reacted to claims steel consumption in China has peaked and, in a view that contrasts with a rising number of global banks, says demand in the top user still has some way to go.

“China’s steel consumption peak is still ahead of us but of course the growth will be much more gradual,” said Claudio Alves, Vale’s global director of ferrous marketing and sales. Vale aimed to boost its market share, he said.

The largest miners are seeking to figure out the implications of slowing growth on China’s demand for everything from iron to copper. While Vale’s view echoes outlooks from Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, ANZ Bank brought forward its peak-steel estimate to 2014 from 2020 and Credit Suisse Group said local consumption will shrink 10 per cent by 2018. Citigroup warned on Tuesday commodities may see further losses amid excess supplies and a sluggish global economy.

“Despite the slowdown of the growth speed, China still remains the economic engine of the world,” Mr Alves said before the start of a conference in Qingdao. Further urbanisation and infrastructure projects will underpin demand for iron ore, steel, copper and other base metals, according to Alves.

Iron ore sank in July to the lowest in at least six years as the three largest producers including Brazil’s Vale raised low-cost supply even as demand growth stalled in China.

A private factory gauge in China on Wednesday showed further weakness, dropping to the lowest since 2009. Ore with 62 per cent content delivered to Qingdao retreated 22 per cent this year to $US55.30 a dry tonne on Wednesday, according to MetalBulletin.

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