Metal prices surge amid China’s Covid building blitz

As China ratchets up its Covid-recovery building blitz, the price of construction-related metals has soared.

Since late March, the price of iron ore, used in steel, has increased by more than 40%, reports The New York Times.

It says nickel, used in stainless steel, has risen by more an 25%, as has zinc, used to galvanise metal.

Copper, needed for wiring, is also up by some 35%.

In the last two months China has announced a suite of eye-watering infrastructure campaigns, including a push to nearly double its high-speed rail network in 15 years, spend $68bn on transport improvements in the Pearl River Delta, and to invest $10bn on four new nuclear reactors. 

The Times said the building boom in China, which analysts calculate consumes around half of the world’s industrial metals, would give relief to metals exporting countries such as Brazil, Australia, Chile and Peru.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) believes China’s GDP will grow 1.8% this year, making it the only G20 member expected to post positive growth in 2020.

Photograph: Laden train leaving the Brockman 4 iron ore mine, Pilbara, Western Australia, July 2019 (Calistemon/CC BY-SA 4.0)

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