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Vale Mulls Iron Output Rise That Would Trail Some Estimates

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(Bloomberg) -- Vale SA expects to lift iron ore output next year, albeit at a slower rate than some analysts are estimating, which may add further volatility to prices for the steel-making ingredient after a roller-coaster year.

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Management of the world’s No. 2 producer plan to seek board approval Thursday for guidance of between 330 million and 350 million metric tons for 2022, said people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because discussions are private. Vale declined to comment.

That would be higher than this year’s production, which the company said last month will likely be in the lower half of a range of 315 million to 335 million tons. But the midpoint of the 2022 guidance under consideration, if confirmed, would trail the 345 million-ton average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The Brazilian company will present 2022 projections for production, capital expenditure and other financial indicators at its annual investor day in New York on Nov. 29.

Vale’s battle to recover from its Brazilian tailings dam disaster makes it a major swing factor on the supply side. With the midpoint of the proposed 2022 guidance coming in slightly below the average analyst estimate, the company’s outlook may offer support to a nascent recovery in iron ore prices.

After losing more than half their value from mid-July to mid-November amid a downturn in China, iron ore futures have recovered some ground on possible stimulus in the Asian nation.

Prices in Singapore retreated 0.5% to $98.25 a ton as of 10:08 a.m. local time on Wednesday, after rebounding 14% over the past three days. Chinese prices advanced 1.8% in Dalian, a fourth day of gains.

(Updates with price moves in 7th paragraph.)

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