Rio cuts 2016 iron ore guidance; Fortescue shipments up – by James Regan (Reuters U.S. – October 19, 2016)

SYDNEY – Global miner Rio Tinto on Thursday cut its 2016 guidance for iron ore shipments by as much as 5 million tonnes after releasing lower third-quarter production data, citing shipping interruptions.

The downward revision – equivalent to as much as $290 million at current ore prices – comes as the steelmaking commodity stages a recovery on the back of a surprise lift in demand from China.

Rio Tinto, the world’s second-biggest producer of iron ore, said third-quarter shipments from Australia fell 2 percent from the previous quarter to 80.9 million tonnes and 5 percent from the same period a year ago.

“Shipments were reduced by port and rail maintenance during the quarter and annual shipment guidance is revised to between 325 and 330 million tonnes for 2016,” the company said. Prior full-year guidance was for 330 million tonnes, according to Rio Tinto. Calendar 2017 production guidance was left unchanged at 330 million to 340 million tonnes

Rio’s cutback came as smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group boosted iron ore shipments by 5 percent in the September quarter to 43.8 million tonnes, adding that its costs had dropped for an eleventh straight quarter.

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