Rio Tinto joins BHP Billiton in warning over weaker demand as economies dip

City A.M. Reporter
GLOBAL miner Rio Tinto yesterday warned on that further cracks may be emerging in global commodities markets as the economies of Europe and the United States waver, with its customers increasingly cautious on the outlook.

Prices of iron ore, copper and aluminium -- among Rio’s biggest income earners -- have tumbled by more than 20 per cent each since August as stockpiles of unused metal swell in warehouses from Rotterdam to New Orleans to Shanghai.

Rio chief executive Tom Albanese said stresses in the Eurozone and a weaker outlook for the US economy were affecting customer sentiment, “For the near term I am concerned about the general softening of prices when we continue to see cost escalation” he said.

Rio’s comments broadly matched rival BHP Billiton, which warned that some buyers were facing tighter access to credit.