Miner Cliffs profit rises on cost cuts, better prices


Oct 24 (Reuters) - Cliffs Natural Resources Inc reported an increase in third quarter profit on Thursday as theminer reduced costs and iron ore prices rose.

The Cleveland-based company, which supplies steelmakersaround the world, said it expects China's steel production to"remain a source of healthy demand."

"Looking forward, the company expects China to maintain itshealthy steelmaking pace, driven by broader economic growth andthe positive impact of domestic lending policy reforms," it saidin a statement.

Miners have been pushing to cut costs in a tough market.Cliffs has cut spending on exploration, and suspended most workon its Black Thor chromite project in Canada.

Cliffs said its cost of goods sold fell 11 percent in thequarter, as expenses eased across its business segments.Benchmark iron ore prices jumped 17 percent.

In the Asia-Pacific segment, revenue per tonne rose 28percent to $108.88, thanks to improved market prices andhigher-grade ore.

Gains were partly offset by Cliffs' small coal business,hurt by lower prices and weather damage that cut production.

Net income attributable to common shareholders rose to $104.3million, or 66 cents a share, from $85.1 million, or 59 cents, ayear earlier. Revenue rose slightly to $1.55 billion from $1.54billion.

Shares of Cliffs rose 3.1 percent to $24.30 in aftermarkettrading.

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