Rio Tinto’s CEO Tom Albanese is confident about the future of the company.
Similar to a year ago, Albanese is looking at emerging markets, which include China, India, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. They continue to move from strength to strength. The U.S., Europe and Japan are still growing, albeit more slowly, which puts additional demand on iron ore, steel, copper, and aluminum—things that Rio produces.
“One of the unintended consequences of the digital revolution is that we have five billion cell phones out there…five billion people who have aspirations to live better than their parents,” Albanese said. This phenomenon is leading to growth in demand for steel and aluminum, a trend that could go on for next 10-20 years. Over one billion people outside of the United States are joining the middle class. At this point, “demand has greatly exceeded supply,” he said.
A big concern for Rio Tinto’s future is inflation. “[We are] seeing inflation hit our inputs,” he said. Now, budget tightening is important.