Cliffs profits bounce back with iron ore demand – by John Myers (Duluth News Tribune – February 9, 2017)

Cliffs Natural Resources, the nation’s largest supplier of taconite iron ore, rode the recovering domestic steel industry back to profitability in 2016, posting a net income of $199 million compared to a net loss of $748 million in 2015.

The Cleveland-based company on Thursday announced its revenues were $754 million last year, up 58 percent over a crippling 2015.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, Cliffs recorded a net income of $81 million, up from a net loss of $58 million for the last quarter the year before, according to the company’s quarterly report issued Thursday.

The company sold 6.9 million tons of taconite in the final quarter of 2016, a 53 percent increase over the same period in 2015, “a result of improved steel market conditions driving increased pellet demand and new customer’’ contracts, the company said in its report.

CEO Lourenco Goncalves predicted Thursday that the domestic steel and iron ore industries will continue to improve in 2017, noting the price of hot rolled steel has jumped from $490 per ton to $630 per ton over the past three months — showing demand is up even as production increases.

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