SHANGHAI, Oct 20 (AFP): After showing some signs of easing, global demand for raw materials is set to rise again with electricity and real estate projects expected to keep the wheels of China's surging economy humming, analysts say.
"Chinese demand has slowed down this year compared to last year, but it should rebound strongly next year," said Steve Thomas from London- based research group LMC International.
"China remains the driver for world growth for commodities and is expected to be for some time yet," he added. "It would affect a whole range of commodities including oil, copper, platinum and palladium, cotton, rubber, cereals or even wool."
The recent sag in demand for commodities is in part due to attempts by Chinese authorities to brake the frenetic pace of growth that in the 18 months to the end of June saw growth at more than 9.5 per cent.
But already imports of aluminum and copper have sprung back in recent months, while activity in the construction industry, a major user of steel and aluminum, has also risen sharply.
"We don't really see much of a downturn, with industrial production in China at around 16 per cent," said Bob Way, head of metals research at AME Mineral Economics in Sydney.
"Things are pretty much now as good at it got and there is no real slowdown in China," he said.
Similarly, a report by UBS chief Asia economist Jonathan Anderson last month said that Chinese construction activity had ticked higher, gaining almost 30 per cent year-on-year in July, according to the latest figures.
Such arguments were bolstered by long-term economic outlooks that suggest the Chinese economy will only see a marginal slowdown.
An OECD report on China last month said "economic growth has averaged 9.5 per cent over the past two decades and seems likely to continue at that pace for some time," even as it warned more economic and social reforms were imperative.
On Thursday, official data showed the Chinese economy continued to forge ahead, with gross domestic product (GDP) up 9.4 per cent in the third quarter.
For four years the voracious demand for raw products from Chinese factories has mercilessly pushed commodity prices higher, smashing the global balance in trade.
"While subject to cyclical reversals, we expect many commodity prices to stay higher for longer with demand growth above historical levels," Morgan Stanley analyst Robert Ottenstein said.