The Sino-Australia ore bridge


As well as keeping China’s steel mills rolling and bulk ports busy, seaborne iron ore shipments have kept Australia one step ahead of the recessions that have gripped other commodity-heavy economies.

Li Keqiang, China’s Premier, visited Australia in March to talk trade and ties with his counterpart Malcolm Turnbull. With China the biggest export market for Australia, there is good reason for Canberra to keep its Pacific trading partner close – not least as these deepening links have helped the so-called ‘lucky country’ avoid for the last quarter of a century the recessions that have dogged other commodity-focused economies.
Iron ore exports remain vital for Australia. There is disquiet over its economic overexposure to China’s fortunes. But Canberra needs China to keep its 3%-plus growth rate ticking. And the mega-deals continue to roll in. During the state visit, the two leaders attended the signing of a US$4.6B deal between BBI Group, the New Zealand investor, and China State Construction Engineering Corp to build a port and railway in Balla Balla, Western Australia, to ship more iron ore to China.

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