China slows Aus mining boom
Tue, 28 Aug 2012 1:14p.m.
By Tessa Dunlop
The slowdown in China is having a big impact on the price of some of Australia’s leading exports such as coal and iron ore.
Some in Australia now claim the mining boom is over.
"The commodity price boom is over and anyone with half a brain knows that," Australian Resources Minister Martin Ferguson says.
That's a chilling call to make for Australia's AU$275 billion resource industry, which has helped the country pretty much comfortably sail through the global financial crisis.
But hang on, there's no reason to panic yet. Australia's trade stats are still at record highs.
And export growth is still strong. LNG, copper and iron ore export forecasts are expected to rise in terms of both volume and value next year.
Analysts predict the good times will roll for a few more years.
The real warning sign will come when investment in big projects starts to wind down. Some say that day is fast approaching.
"We have seen a drop-off in enthusiasm for these projects,” senior managing editor, coal, platts, James O’Connell, says.
For example, this week the Olympic Dam project was shelved by BHP, that, a AU$30 billion project that was due to come online.
There's also room to worry about the next generation of mega projects.
National Australia Bank says a whopping AU$400 billion worth of projects are at risk, mainly in LNG.
"Investment growth, we shouldn't be optimistic about it, because we've had an enormous level of growth, probably overdid it in the first instance, we're likely to see the projections for future projects now being wound right back,” professor of economics and finance, University Of Western Sydney, Steve Keen says.
So the dire predictions about the end of the commodities boom are probably right, just a bit premature.
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