Top Stock Fund Wagers BHP, Rio Tinto Will Weather Iron-Ore Slump – by Georgina McKay (Bloomberg News – May 17, 2023)

(Bloomberg) — A top equities fund manager is backing BHP Group Ltd. and Rio Tinto Ltd., betting they can withstand softer iron-ore prices and will benefit as China’s reopening boosts demand for the commodity.

Australian producers are attractive as they have relatively low operating costs and high exposure to the mainland, the world’s largest consumer of the steel-making ingredient, according to David Wilson, who oversees the equivalent of $5.3 billion at Australia-focused First Sentier Wholesale Geared Share Fund. The fund has returned 10% this year, beating more than 90% of its peers.

Even when iron-ore prices fall, Australian producers are still highly profitable given they have a lower cost base than their global counterparts, Sydney-based Wilson said. “Over the course of this year, China will continue to reopen and that will provide a base for demand for Australian iron ore.”

The fund recently rotated out of aluminum-miner South32 Ltd. and redirected some of that capital toward Rio Tinto, he said.

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