Is China set to soar or, like ‘Japan Inc.,’ grossly oversold?

Oct 01, 2008 | 06:15 AM |

In case you missed it, here's a quick snapshot of what we might expect from China in the coming years Over the next decade, the world's most populous nation will use as much steel as was consumed by the United States in the whole of the 20th Century. Or perhaps it's better to think of the future like this As China industrializes, over the next 20 years it will build as many as 50,000 skyscrapers, which is roughly the equivalent of 10 New Yorks.

Those are bold statements, and some caution is warranted. The first forecast was made in August by mining house BHP Billiton, which is hardly a disinterested observer. As reports have pointed out, the company made profits of around $1.7 million an hour in its last fiscal year, thanks largely to China's appetite for the raw materials it sells. The second prediction, by consultants at McKinsey & Co., was cited a few days later by BHP rival Rio Tinto, which also has a stake in the Chinese industrial boom (and vice versa, given Aluminum Corp. of China's 11-percent ownership stake in the Anglo-Australian producer).....

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