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MELBOURNE, Sept 23 (Reuters) - A restructuring in China’s economy has reduced business confidence and demand for steel and iron ore in the world’s top consumer of both commodities, said Nev Power, chief executive of world No. 4 iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group.
“With the restructuring that’s going on in the Chinese economy, it has reduced business confidence to some extent and we’re seeing less demand for steel and therefore iron ore through that process,” Power said on the sidelines of a mining conference in Melbourne.
Some economists have trimmed their 2014 growth forecasts for China after data showing a slowdown in factory output, while recent comments Finance Minister Lou Jiwei suggested Beijing may be amenable to slower growth.
Iron ore has fallen more than 40 percent this year as growth in supply from low-cost producers outpaced demand in China, hitting a five-year low of $79.80 .IO62-CNI=SI on Monday.
Power said that while a slump in iron ore prices has pushed out some high-cost producers from the market, supply was “not being cut back fast enough to reduce the overhang in the market”.
“The response by high-cost producers ... has been much slower than certainly what I thought and what most in the industry thought,” he said.
“But inevitably that needs to happen ... so the iron ore price will be low for long enough for that supply to exit the market. That’s an economic reality.”
While stockpiles at China’s ports remain high, Power said steel mills were running with relatively low stockpiles.
Power said Fortescue’s delivered cost into China is less than $50 a tonne.
“Our focus is on making sure that our production is as efficient and low cost as possible,” he said.
Fortescue’s shares have fallen 38 percent but were 0.3 percent firmer on Tuesday at $3.59 a share in a flat overall market.
Reporting by Melanie Burton; Writing by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Richard Pullin