Shell avoids first loss helped by strong oil trading

LONDON, July 30 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell avoided its first quarterly loss in recent history after bumper earnings in its trading business offset a collapse in revenue from its main oil and gas operations due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

Adjusted earnings fell to $600 million from $3.5 billion a year ago, beating analysts forecasts of a $674 million loss.

It also slashed the value of its assets by $16.8 billion after lowering its short-term oil and gas price outlook due to an expected sluggish growth in demand in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

The impairment charge was at the lower end of the range the company indicated in July.

Reporting by Ron Bousso and Shadia Nasralla; editing by Jason Neely