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Rio Tinto says China demand ‘recovering’ but world outlook uncertain

Minng giant Rio Tinto says demand for Australia’s top export, iron ore, has remained resilient so far even as the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus pandemic crippled industrial activity across much of China.

Rio Tinto, the world’s largest iron ore miner, said it shipped 72.9 million tonnes of the steelmaking commodity from Western Australia in the March quarter, an increase of 5 per cent compared to the same time last year.

Rio Tinto has reported a rise in quarterly iron ore shipments.

Rio Tinto has reported a rise in quarterly iron ore shipments.Credit:Rio Tinto

Despite the spreading pandemic rattling world markets, demand for iron ore has been”strong”, Rio Tinto said on Friday, with the price remaining above $US80 a tonne. The mining giant said the demand was sustained by global supply chain disruptions and solid appetite, even through the worst of the lockdowns, from steel mills in China.

“In the rest of the world, the outlook is more uncertain,” Rio Tinto said on Friday. “Commodity supply is being disrupted as COVID-19 restrictions impact supply chains and people movement globally.”

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