TOKYO, Aug 7 (Reuters) -
* Japanese oil and metals company JXTG Holdings said on Wednesday that first quarter earnings fell 88% from the same period a year earlier because of lower margins on petrochemical products and as a one-off gain from selling an asset booked last year set a high base of comparison
* Falling prices of natural resources such as oil and copper amid the intensifying and prolonged U.S.-China trade dispute also eroded its profits, Yoshiaki Ouchi, JXTG Holdings Senior Vice President, told an earnings conference.
* JXTG, which buys more than 80% of its oil from Middle East, is purchasing alternative supplies from other Middle East countries after the United States ended sanction waiver for Iranian oil import in early May, Ouchi said.
* JXTG’s Caserones mine in Chile produced a total of 40,000 tonnes of copper in the April-June quarter, including 33,000 tonnes of copper concentrate in terms of copper content and 7,000 tonnes of copper cathode. In the year earlier period it produced 32,000 tonnes in total, including 24,000 tonnes of concentrate and 8,000 tonnes cathode.
* JXTG expects Caserones’ copper output, including cathode, to rise to 159,000 tonnes for the year to March 2020, against 133,000 tonnes a year earlier.
* Ouchi said JXTG has not seen any impact on its energy business from deteriorating relation between Japan and South Korea, but the company will closely watch the situation.
Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; editing by Christian Schmollinger