Despite slower growth, China still key market for miners and Africa – by Keith Campbell ( – April 21, 2017)

JOHANNESBURG ( – There can be no doubt that, for the past two decades-and-a-half or so, the biggest single influence on the global mining industry has been China. Between 2002 and 2012, that country experienced an annual average real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 10.4%, compared with India’s 7.6%, the UK’s 1.3%, Germany’s 1.2%, France’s 1.0% and Japan’s 0.8%.

During the period 1992 to 2002, China’s average annual real GDP growth rate had been 9.8% (India’s had been 5.8%). (These figures are from The Economist: Pocket World in Figures 2015.)

The result was the “commodity supercycle” and a global mining boom. But Chinese economic growth has, of course, decelerated significantly since 2012. In 2015, it grew at 6.9% and last year at 6.7%, according to official data released in Beijing. (The International Monetary Fund, or IMF, has estimated India’s 2016 growth rate at 6.6%, which makes China again the world’s fastest- growing economy.

The IMF does expect the Indian economy to accelerate once more this year, achieving a growth rate of 7.2%.) Even so, the World Bank, in its Country Overview for China, describes its annual GDP growth as “still impressive by current global standards”. It highlights that the country’s 9% to 10% annual growth rates over 20 years was “the fastest sustained expansion by a major economy in history – and has lifted more than 800-million people out of poverty.

China reached all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 and made a major contribution to the achievement of the MDGs globally. … China has been the largest contributor to world growth since the global financial crisis of 2008. Yet, China remains a developing country (its per capita income is still a fraction of that in advanced countries) . . . [and] there were 55-million poor in rural areas in 2015.”

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