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BHP Billiton (BHP) Lowers Iron-Ore Production View for FY18

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BHP Billiton Limited BHP recently released third-quarter fiscal 2018 (ended March 2018) operational results.

Aggregate iron-ore output came in at 58 million tons (Mt) during the reported quarter, up 8% year over year. However, the company lowered its iron-ore production guidance for fiscal 2018 (ending June 2018) from 239-243 Mt to 236-238 Mt range. The company stated that the outlook has been revised primarily due to the ongoing car dumper reliability problems.

Energy coal’s output in the quarter came in at 6 Mt, down 18% year over year. Nevertheless, the company reaffirmed its fiscal 2018 production guidance at 29-30 Mt range.

Gross copper output in the quarter came in at 457 kilo tons (Kt), up 101% year over year. The upside stemmed from improved mining productivity. Moreover, BHP Billiton revised its copper production guidance range from 1,655-1,790 Kt to 1,700-1,785 Kt for fiscal 2018.

Total petroleum production was 45 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe) in the fiscal third quarter, down 12% year over year. However, the company believes improved well performance in the onshore fields of United States will help boost its petroleum productivity going forward.

Aggregate output of metallurgical coal came in at 10 Mt in the reported quarter, up 2% year over year. The company reaffirmed its fiscal 2018 productivity guidance at 41-43 Mt range.

Our Take

BHP Billiton is poised to grow on the back of new investments, increased mining yield and diligent cost-saving initiatives. Over the last month, shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company rallied 7.8%, outperforming 3.8% growth recorded by the industry.



 

Furthermore, we expect that improving iron-ore prices will be beneficial for major mining companies like BHP Billiton, Vale S.A. VALE, Rio Tinto plc RIO and Golden Minerals Company AUMN. The spot price for iron ore jumped 2.1%, ending yesterday’s trading session at $65.94 per ton, marking its highest gain since Mar 29. The spot price for iron ore jumped 2.1% yesterday, closing trading at $65.94 per ton, marking its highest gain since Mar 29. Along with spot prices, iron ore futures are also moving northward since this Wednesday. Expectation of increased property investments in China (the country’s primary steel consumer) and People’s Bank of China’s move to trim reserve ratio requisites for some domestic lenders has been the two major catalysts backing up this rally.

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