Van der Wath told Investing in African Mining Indaba that people were “less panicky” about the dire financial state of Europe.
“The world is more comfortable with Europe,” he said.
“It takes off the shadow that hung over Asia a year ago.”
It also helped ease the fears over a slowdown in China.
“Our concerns about China that existed last year are no longer there,” van der Wath said.
“It did manage to have a soft landing last year.”
He said growth was accelerating again, but warned not to expect this to return to the rates seen in the past few years.
“Don’t expect growth of 9, 10 per cent and beyond any time soon – those days are gone,” he said.
Van der Wath forecast 8.2% growth for China in 2013, but that would fall to as low as 3-5% as it looked to moderate growth.
He said there was already a shift from export-driven growth to a consumption and services economy.
“It certainly doesn’t spell the end for resources demand,” van der Wath said.
Despite the drop in the Chinese growth rate, van der Wath said the country would still continue to get stronger on a global scale.
“Don’t think that lower growth means no growth,” he said.
China accounts for about 10% of global gross domestic product at the moment, but that should grow to about 15% in the next few years.
As a region the Asia Pacific would outperform the developed world, accounting for a third of global GDP by 2015, he said.
As for Chinese investment, van der Wath expects China to continue to be active in Africa and Australia.
However, he said the strategy would change.
“It’s not just about winning the capex race,” van der Wath said.
He said we could expect to see China being more involved on the marketing and supply chain side of things in the future.