QINGDAO, China (Reuters) - China’s rising middle class and a growing machinery sector will counter any weakness in steel demand in construction over the next decade, an official at Australian iron ore miner BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) (BLT.L) said on Wednesday.
Population in China, the world’s top consumer of steel and its raw material iron ore, is expected to grow by another 250 million over the next 20 years and “a rising middle class will be looking to upgrade to bigger apartments, to better apartments,” Virginia Wilson, general manager iron ore marketing, told an industry conference.
“In addition, we anticipate that China will become more international in the machinery industry, and that’s a very steel-hungry industry. In aggregate these trends are expected to offset any weakness in construction in the next 10 years,” Wilson said.
Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. and Muyu Xu; Editing by Richard Pullin