Barrick beats profit estimates on higher gold prices

(Reuters) - Canadian miner Barrick Gold Corp reported a quarterly profit on Thursday that beat analysts’ estimates, helped by a jump in gold prices due to coronavirus-induced economic uncertainty.

FILE PHOTO: Souvenir luggage tags are displayed at a Barrick Gold Corp at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada March 1, 2020. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

The company’s U.S.-listed shares were up 2.4% at $21.33 before the bell.

Gold prices touched record highs in 2020, as investors flocked to the safe-haven asset while the COVID-19 pandemic roiled the global economy. In the fourth quarter, market prices averaged $1,875 per ounce, 26.4% higher than a year earlier.

Barrick said its all-in sustaining costs (AISC) for the reported quarter, an important metric for miners, rose to $929 per ounce from $923 last year.

For 2021, the company expects AISC to be between $970 and $1,020 per ounce, compared with $967 in 2020.

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Barrick said it expects full-year production to be between 4.4 million ounces and 4.7 million ounces, compared with its 2020 production of 4.8 million ounces.

The miner expects copper production in the range of 410 million to 460 million pounds this year, compared with production of 457 million pounds last year.

Quarterly net income nearly halved to $685 million as the company had gains related to some assets and acquisitions in the year-earlier quarter.

On an adjusted basis, profit rose to $616 million, or 35 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $300 million, or 17 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on an average had expected a profit of 32 cents per share, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Reporting by Arunima Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta