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It's Time to Rethink China

Sep 1, 2004

Latin America must come to terms with China's emergence as a global political and military power, instead of simply viewing it as a fabulous new export market for raw materials. by David Hale*

The world economy has passed an important watershed during the past year. China has displaced the United States as the world's largest consumer of most industrial raw materials, including copper, aluminum, nickel, platinum and iron ore. China's steel industry now generates more output than the US and Japan combined. The market capitalization of China's steel industry is over $40 billion, compared to $11 billion for the US steel industry. In 2003, China produced 40% of the world's cement compared to 6% for the US. While China now consumes 22% of global copper output and 11% of nickel output, its per- capita consumption of most materials is still equal to only about 20% of US per capita consumption. As a result, China's continuing economic development could cause its share of global metals consumption to rise to the 35%-40% range during the next two decades. At current growth rates, there can...

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