The head of the world’s second-biggest mining company says he’s unfazed by pessimism around China’s ability to meet official economic growth forecasts that are critical to the fortunes of the embattled industry.
“There are lot of pundits saying that growth will be slower than the government will be expecting,” Sam Walsh, chief executive officer of Rio Tinto Group, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Antalya, Turkey on Sunday referring to China’s 7 percent growth target this year. “Quite frankly we have conducted our own independent research and analysis and it’s indicating that it’s pretty close to 7 percent.”
A retreat in prices for industrial metals deepened last week on concerns over demand in China, the world’s biggest consumer, after data showed the country’s industrial output matching the weakest reading since 2008.
Monetary and fiscal easing have yet to spur a rebound with the economy expanding at the slowest pace in a quarter of a century. Bloomberg’s monthly gross domestic product tracker remained below the Chinese government’s 7 percent goal in October with a reading of 6.57 percent.
“So far the leaders of the government have shown they can keep their hand on the tiller,” Walsh said. “They’ve got quite frankly far more levers than other economies given the amount of state-owned enterprises, given the fact that they are controlling the banks. There are a lot more levers for them to play to keep the economy moving which is exactly what they are doing.”
Top leaders have signaled that they won’t tolerate a sharp slowdown in coming years.
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