Rio Tinto CEO says Chinese steel demand is close to peaking

19th September 2023 By: Bloomberg

The chief executive officer of the world’s second-largest iron-ore producer believes Chinese consumption of steel is close to topping out, with demand next year likely to be similar to 2023.

China’s appetite for iron ore has picked up in recent months as some brighter spots in the economy help to offset poor demand from the key property sector. However, the past two decades of rapid growth in consumption of steel is probably coming to an end, Rio Tinto Group CEO Jakob Stausholm said.

“We are foreseeing that the peak steel demand in China is about to be reached,” Stausholm said during an interview at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. “Not because the Chinese economy is not growing, but just because of the maturity it has reached.”

Iron ore traded at the highest since April last week and has largely held above the key $100-a-ton threshold this year. That’s despite waves of worrying news from the property sector, which made up about 40% of demand in more typical years.

Futures in Singapore were down 0.5% at $121.15 a ton at 10:03 a.m. Shanghai time. Futures in Dalian rose 0.3% while hot-rolled coil and rebar in Shanghai traded higher.