Chinese urban legends stumped Labor

Julia Gillard’s budget missed forecasts by miles because of misguided notions about Chinese urbanisation and iron ore consumption that are still widely accepted in Australia.

As late as November 2012, head of Rio Tinto’s China operations Ian Buert attacked the “impending doom camp” of China analysts in a speech to The Zone conference in Western Australia. In offering an analysis that mirrored hundreds given by big and small mining executives until very recently, Buert argued that continued urbanisation would sustain and even increase recent rates of growth in Chinese demand for decades.

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