The view from Hong Kong

MINING and minerals are not hot news here. The Outcrop, by Robin Bromby.

The view from Hong Kong The view from Hong Kong The view from Hong Kong The view from Hong Kong The view from Hong Kong

That story later, as they say on television, but first this (and it does have some bearing on what follows).

Michael Blythe, chief economist at the Commonwealth Bank, has (with the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War being marked on Sunday) put together an essay on the way in which World War I affected the Australian economy.

Australia was faced with a significant drop in the ability to import goods. The result was that iron ore production rose by 150% over the 1914-18 period (and steel output went up 1200%). "Companies that now dominate the business landscape such as BHP rode the wave," writes Blythe.

The difficulties of trading with Europe saw a re-orientation of Australia's trade towards Asia. (And keep in mind that in 1914 Japan was the only East...