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ASEAN expects China, India to keep mining afloat amid recession

by Staff Writers
Manila (AFP) Oct 13, 2008
Mineral exporters in Southeast Asia expect China and India to sustain demand amid a looming recession in developed countries, officials and industry executives said Monday.

"The world will not stop operations," Filipino Natural Resources Secretary Joselito Atienza told reporters.

"The present crisis in the world could be an opportunity for ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries," he added.

Despite an economic slowdown and possible recession in the West due to a financial crisis, robust growth is forecast for emerging and developing countries including China and India, said Benjamin Philip Romualdez, head of the region's mining chambers.

Their geographic location means the Philippines and fellow ASEAN mineral exporters Indonesia and Malaysia would be "well-positioned" compared to Latin American and African rivals in supplying the needs of large mineral importers in Asia.

While metals prices have gone down from last year's record levels, "true prices are still very much higher than their historical averages," he said.

"The world is still flush with cash and various funds all over the world will still be looking for investment," he said.

"Historically in difficult times like now, the resource sector often remains to be the most stable and strongest in these difficult conditions," Romualdez said.

"We are not a consumer-driven industry. It's not a question of confidence, of whim. Metals are the basic building blocks of infrastructure and economies for developing countries in the world," Romualdez said.

Horacio Ramos, head of the Philippines' Mines and Geosciences Bureau, said that despite the global slowdown, Manila is maintaining its target of 2.6 billion dollars in mining exports this year, rising to 10 billion dollars by 2012.

The targets exclude at least a billion dollars in annual turnover from Philippines-based metals processing, he added.

ASEAN senior officials and executives began a meeting in Manila on Monday during which they will hold consultations with counterparts from China, Japan, and South Korea.

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Chinese steel prices plummet amid global turmoil: state media
Beijing (AFP) Oct 13, 2008
Steel prices in China recorded their largest weekly decline in eight years last week as the global financial crisis bit into the domestic industry, state media reported on Monday.

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