Rio Tinto's operations bolstered by China's robust economic growth

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Rio Tinto's operations bolstered by China's robust economic growth
Credit: © Reuters.

FTSE 100 mining giant, Rio Tinto (NYSE: RIO ), is witnessing a boost in its operations owing to China's resilient economic growth. Today, analysts have expressed optimism that China is on track to meet its official 2023 economic growth target, a development that is expected to benefit Rio Tinto significantly.

China, a principal global commodities buyer since the mid-1990s, has reported a year-on-year Q3 growth of 4.9% as of October 18, outpacing market estimates of 4.4%. This suggests the nation might achieve its annual growth target of around 5%. The Q2 figures also surpassed expectations, instilling confidence in China's economic trajectory.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic's uncertainties and to stimulate growth, China's central bank has injected approximately $100 billion into the economy and approved an additional $137 billion in new bonds. Further measures are anticipated in 2024 to drive both industrial and consumer sector development, which could potentially elevate commodity prices and support Rio Tinto's business.

The positive economic climate in China has reflected in Rio Tinto's Q3 production data. The company reported a 1.2% increase in iron ore shipments, a 5% growth in mined copper production, and a 9% jump in aluminum production, all of which are vital exports to China.

Despite not appearing undervalued compared to its peers on traditional metrics such as price-to-earnings or price-to-book basis, Rio Tinto seems significantly undervalued when assessed using the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) method. The DCF analysis indicates it could be between 36% to 68% undervalued, suggesting potential investment value. The company's current yield stands at 7.7%, based on last year’s total dividend.

However, risks persist in the form of potential hurdles in China's economic resurgence or a larger fall in global commodity prices. Despite these uncertainties, Rio Tinto's ties to China's economic evolution continue to play a crucial role in the mining corporation's future outlook.

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