Infographic: The Middle Kingdom's Growing Appetite
With slower economic growth of 7.7% in 2013, the story of China’s contribution to global demand for commodities is still far from over. In March 2014, China unveiled its long-awaited plan to have approximately 60% of its more than 1.3 billion people living in urban areas by 2020 in a bid to boost economic growth and efficiency. These new urbanites will demand greater quantities of disposable goods, electronics and white goods to furnish their new dwellings – ushering in a new wave of consumption.
Feeding a Billion: China’s Transforming Agricultural Sector
As China’s agricultural sector struggles to keep up with the country’s growth in demand, many opportunities are arising for companies interested in capitalising on this challenge. China’s struggle to consistently secure adequate food supplies of a sufficient quality has resulted in its agricultural sector being placed under increasing scrutiny. The State Council, China’s highest decision-making body, released guidelines in February 2014 that suggest that the country will no longer aim to match demand for grain through domestic production alone, as has been the case since the days of Maoism. These are the first public signs that Beijing is coming to terms with the realities facing China’s agricultural sector. China’s shrinking farming capacity, as well as some of its archaic agricultural policies, will hamper its ability to achieve food security in the long term. China’s ability to meet the agricultural demands of its population will usher in a new era off opportunities for agricultural companies. By Dominique Scott
Chinese Mining Firms in the Year of the Horse: a Trot, a Canter or a Gallop?
The global mining boom created a sense of euphoria in the sector – mining firms could export what was produced at record profits as the world underwent sustained economic growth. As a result, mining companies de-emphasised cost-control practices because commodity prices were high enough to cover lingering inefficiencies in the sector. In today’s market, mining companies must reduce expenses and explore alternatives to traditional mining processes and equipment as costs increase and mineral grades decline. Further, resource nationalism and regulation have resulted in increasing risk and complexity for mining firms operating internationally. Though the Year of the Horse has brought signs that this year will be easier on Chinese mining firms than in 2013, it is unclear how far the recovery will go and how Chinese mining firms will respond to the changing environment. By Walter Ruigu