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Battle of minerals: Experts predict India can overtake China as bigger buyer in next decade

Global investor and economist Dambisa Moyo has said that India can surpass China as the world’s most important buyer of minerals in a decade.

Warning that China’s debt and demographic challenges would become “incredibly problematic over the next 10 years”, Moyo was speaking at the Diggers & Dealers mining conference in Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

Highlighting that these structural challenges would intensify China’s “struggle to manage a lot of their policy initiatives from the centre in terms of their political approach”, Moyo said they could have wider implications not only for the world’s mineral and resources companies but also for the Chinese economy as well.

Moyo, who is a board member of Chevron, 3M, and Condé Nast, also added that “The real story of the emergence and product mix, thinking about the energy stack and about minerals, does become India.”

Following the UN report which showed that India’s population is set to surpass China’s next year, Moyo said this would have “material consequences” for how global mineral resources are allocated.

China, which has faced criticism for wasteful spending to stem its economic slowdown and reverting to debt-fuelled, is the world's second-largest economy after the United States.

“Indian demand for coal and renewable energy will mean a lot for Australia,” the Financial Times quoted Roland Rajah, an economist with the Lowy Institute think-tank, as saying.

“India will probably grow much faster than China but China is still pretty big,” he added.

In order to kick-start slowing growth China will adopt “a more aggressive agenda” this year that would stimulate greater investment in resources, according to Moyo.


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