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Rio Tinto China sales forecast to surge 43% in 2007
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Rio Tinto, a leading international mining group, said its China sales may reach a possible annual growth of about 42.8 percent in 2007 year on year, Julie Song, chief representative of the company's Beijing representative office told Xinhua on Tuesday.

The company's China sales stood at 4.062 billion U.S. dollars in 2006, accounting for 15 percent of the Australian company's global sales. Its 2007 sales to China were forecast to top 5.8 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for around 18 percent of its total sales volume.

Song said at a press conference on Tuesday that the growth was mainly boosted by copper, iron ore, aluminium and its energy businesses.

The global mining giant released its 2007 annual result last week, with its underlying earnings reaching an all-time high of 7.443 billion U.S. dollars, up one percent from 2006.

"The Chinese market is still gaining strong growth momentum, largely unaffected by Western markets," said Michael Han, Rio Tinto China chief economist. He predicted the country's gross domestic product (GDP) was likely to grow around 10 percent this year.

(Xinhua News Agency February 20, 2008)

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