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China steel, iron ore demand consistent on economic development: Fortescue CEO

  • Steel, iron ore demand consistent in China on economic growth
  • Asia ex-China growing rapidly, also driving steel and iron ore demand
  • Come off in iron ore prices this year "unsurprisingly"

Demand for iron ore still looks positive in China as the world's second largest economy continues to develop, said Fortescue Metals CEO Nev Power.

"Longer-term, China is looking good in terms of economic development, so we see consistent steel demand and therefore consistent demand for iron ore going forward," Power told CNBC on the sidelines of Macquarie's Australia Conference.

There have been concerns about a slowdown in growth in China, which is the world's largest consumer and importer of iron ore, but Power said the country will remain key for the sector.

Fortescue is the world's fourth largest producer of iron ore, used in steel-making.

China's demand for steel and iron ore is still "looking good", says Fortescue Metals Group CEO, Nev Power.
STR | AFP | Getty Images
China's demand for steel and iron ore is still "looking good", says Fortescue Metals Group CEO, Nev Power.

China is the world's largest steel producer, churning out some 800 million tons of the alloy a year, so it will continue to be the most important regional market for iron ore producers, he added.

In the rest of fast-growing Asia, steel and iron ore consumption will also drive demand, Power said.

His comments come amid a volatile price market with prices falling to around $67 per metric ton now from $95 earlier this year, a level that "overshot the market," Power said.

"I don't think anyone's surprised to see them come down from those very high levels," he added. Today's price level is still "a very strong" one.

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