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The death of China has been greatly exaggerated

BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP) (NYSE: BHP), the world’s biggest miner, has its finger on the pause button, threatening to put $50 billion of mining spending on hold.

Blame it on China?

China’s economy expanded at a slower than expected 8.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2012, down from 8.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Fears of a “hard landing” for China have sent commodity prices falling, hurting the share price of BHP and other mining companies, including Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) (NYSE: RIO), Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) and Alumina Limited (ASX: AWC).

But it’s worth putting the China story into context.

Even if economic growth slows to 7.5 per cent, as the Chinese authorities have previously signaled, it’s still a mightily impressive number. The last time Australia even approached that was 1970, when we recorded an annual GDP growth rate of 7.16%. Nowadays, we’re lucky to hit 4%.

This will still be China’s century.

A quote from Linc Energy (ASX: LNC) chief executive Peter Bond emphasises the point…

“China’s insatiable appetite for liquid fuels and gas presents Linc Energy and GCL with a unique opportunity to capitalise on this world changing market.”

Shares in Linc Energy soared by more than 30 per cent after it formed a joint venture with Hong Kong listed Golden Concord Holdings (GCL) to produce gas in China. Linc is focused on producing underground coal gasification (UGC) and gas-to-liquids (GTL) technologies.

The mining boom may be over, and commodity prices may have peaked, but the death of the Chinese growth story has been greatly exaggerated.

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