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Metal prices sink Rio Tinto earnings

Thursday, August 06, 2015 - 01:35

There's no sign of any let up in the turmoil hitting commodities markets. As Ciara Lee reports global miner Rio Tinto has seen its first half earnings pummelled by low iron ore prices.

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The iron ore rout has been pretty relentless this year. The spot price hit a record low of $44.10 a tonne in early July. And even with a modest recovery to $56.40 a tonne, it's still down more than 22 percent this year. That's given miners a headache - as Rio Tinto can testify. Its underlying first half earnings are down 43 percent from a year ago - at $2.9 billion. As a result cost cuts of $1 billion will be made this year. But Chief Executive Sam Walsh still called the results "robust" That goes to show how tough the operating environment is for miners these days. The Anglo Australian firm's iron ore division is the world's second largest - it saw earnings fall 55% to just over $2bln. David Papier from ETX Capital says it's largely due over supply and slowing growth in China. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DAVID PAPIER, HEAD OF SALES TRADING, ETX CAPITAL, SAYING: "It's the world's second biggest economy, it's the world's largest consumer of raw materials, metals and ore and if China is not consuming or growing at the rate that the market expects then this is going to affect commodity stocks." Metal isn't the only commodity under pressure this year of course. Oil traded close to multi-month lows again on Thursday with Brent under $50 a barrel. Excess supplies and the prospect of further dollar strength weighed on prices. Gold also stuck near a 2010 low on more upbeat U.S. economic data, seen as increasing the prospect of a Federal Reserve interest rate rise as soon as next month.

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Metal prices sink Rio Tinto earnings

Thursday, August 06, 2015 - 01:35