By Alex MacDonald
LONDON--Chinese steel demand will continue to grow and will peak in 2030 as the world's largest consumer of many commodities starts to adjust to consumer-led economic growth from investment-led growth, the chief economist of mining titan Rio Tinto (RIO) said Wednesday.
Rio Tinto, the world's second-largest iron ore producer by output after Brazil's Vale SA (VALE), said it forecasts Chinese steel demand to peak at around 1 billion metric tons of crude steel production in 2030. Rio's views broadly mirror similar forecasts made by BHP Billiton, the third-largest iron ore producer, which expects Chinese steel use to plateau after 2025.
"Over time, we expect Chinese consumers to take over as the main driving force of the Chinese economy," Vivek Tulpule said in his outlook for metal and minerals report. "This transition will be a multi-year process [and as such] we still expect China‟s demand for many commodities to continue growing in coming years, before reaching a peak over the next twenty years.
Mr Tulpule said that between now and 2030, India and countries in South East Asia are expected to become increasingly important sources of demand for commodities including steel.
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