October 30, 2018 / 12:31 AM / 16 days ago

BHP trims forecasts for U.S., China GDP growth due to trade conflict

FILE PHOTO: Refined copper bundles at BHP Billiton's Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine in South Australia, May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Sonali Paul/File Photo

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The world’s biggest miner BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) (BLT.L) has trimmed its expectations of global growth for next year and 2020 due to a “lose-lose” result from the U.S.-China trade conflict, a senior executive said on Tuesday.

BHP’s modelling suggested the trade row would cut both Chinese and U.S. GDP growth by about a half to three quarters of a percentage point, Chief Commercial Officer Arnoud Balhuizen told the IMARC mining conference in Melbourne.

“Which confirms that the trade protection will create a lose-lose outcome,” he said.

BHP has “not yet seen any material impact on our business,” he added.

China’s economy grew by a slower-than-expected 6.5 percent in the third quarter, its weakest pace since the global financial crisis, and analysts believe business conditions will get worse before they get better.

Meanwhile, the United States is preparing to announce tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports by early December if talks next month between presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping fail to ease the trade war, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing unnamed sources.

“We have to be realistic that the current situation will not be solved easily,” Balhuizen said.

However, despite rising trade tension hitting global growth, less trade between China and the United States would open the door to increased trade elsewhere.

“There’s a lot of other countries around the Sino-U.S. trade protection scenario which are actively upping their trade,” he said.

Reporting by Melanie Burton; additional reporting by Sonali Paul; editing by Richard Pullin

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