Um, how come this story is in the Sydney Morning Herald (as of about 20 hours ago) and not the US/UK business media? This is a pretty major development. Yes, commodities heavy Australia is most affected, but Oz is hardly alone in seeing the ramifications.
While the US dollar is weakening, the Australian dollar has had an amazing run, and the only justification I could fathom for its outperformance (it normally moves with the euro, albeit with more amplitude) was the commodities/China angle. Australia was the only economy to see its exports increase since the global slump took hold.
From the Sydney Morning Herald (hat tip reader Sean):
A record-breaking run run of commodities exports to China that has sustained the Australian economy may be set to end, with Beijing officials and advisers announcing an end to “strategic” stockpiling, and massive iron ore contracts likely to expire today.
A key state planning official has signalled a halt to government buying of copper, aluminium and other high-value metals because prices have risen too high.
“We don’t anticipate that the country will continue to build its reserves,” said Yu Dongming, the head of the metallurgical department of the National Development and Reform Commission…
Zhang Bin, an economist with the Government’s most influential advisers, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, warned that Beijing was leaning against Chinese speculative buying of a range of commodities including Australia’s most lucrative exports, coal and iron ore.
“The commission is acting to reduce pressure on commodities prices and discourage over-production in heavy industry, including guiding steel production and reducing the building of excess capacity,” Dr Zhang told the Herald.
“Too much increase in inventories of commodities is not a good thing because the economy is still not that strong and cannot consume this level of imports of iron ore and coal.”…
“I think the risks are weighted to the downside,” Mr Rennie said. “If China does slow demand for those key commodities, it is not entirely clear there is another obvious buyer out there.”…
“Iron ore imports seem to have started to slow down,” said Paul Bartholomew, the Shanghai editor of Steel Business Briefing. “I can’t see it bettering the 57 million tonnes … in April.”