RIO - Rio Tinto Group

NYSE - NYSE Delayed Price. Currency in USD
53.92
+1.41 (+2.69%)
At close: 4:00PM EDT
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Performance Outlook
  • Short Term
    2W - 6W
  • Mid Term
    6W - 9M
  • Long Term
    9M+
Previous Close52.51
Open53.28
Bid52.51 x 1100
Ask54.34 x 1400
Day's Range53.07 - 54.08
52 Week Range35.35 - 64.02
Volume2,558,430
Avg. Volume3,108,122
Market Cap90.232B
Beta (5Y Monthly)0.62
PE Ratio (TTM)11.05
EPS (TTM)4.88
Earnings DateN/A
Forward Dividend & Yield3.82 (7.27%)
Ex-Dividend DateMar 06, 2020
1y Target Est48.25
  • Financial Times

    Australian court rules against Fortescue in indigenous rights case

    Australia’s top court dismissed an appeal by Fortescue Metals Group against a landmark ruling on indigenous land rights, which could expose the company to hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation claims and set a precedent for other similar cases. The High Court decision on Friday brought to an end a long-running legal battle by the Yindjibarndi people to win recognition for their exclusive native title rights to land in Western Australia on which FMG’s Solomon iron ore mine is located. The Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation, a group that represents indigenous people, can now seek compensation for economic loss and “spiritual harm” related to the mine, which is estimated to contain iron ore worth up to A$280bn (US$186bn).

  • Reuters

    Rio Tinto says it can extract strategic mineral from metal plant processing waste

    Rio Tinto Plc said on Wednesday it has developed a process to extract the rare earth scandium from its titanium dioxide production process and is studying ways to commercially produce the mineral. The move is the latest example of Rio taking a second look at the waste from its core mining business in an effort to reprocess it and produce so-called strategic minerals and rare earths, a grouping of 17 minerals used to make electronics. China is the world's largest producer and consumer of many of these minerals, including rare earths.

  • Financial Times

    Central bankers highlight post-Covid climate risks; ESG earnings calls; Fallen angels; Rio Tinto blows up Australian heritage site

    As central bankers fight to restore the economic world order ravaged by the coronavirus crisis, the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) is urging regulators to delve deeper into the climate change risks lurking on banks’ balance sheets. The organisation, led by Frank Elderson, the executive board member of De Nederlandsche Bank, is pushing central banks to assess where environmental risks are leaving banks vulnerable to losses, and trying to convince regulators to ensure financial companies are taking the risks seriously, among other things.

  • 5 Cheap Foreign Stocks That Are Perfect for Dividend Investors
    InvestorPlace

    5 Cheap Foreign Stocks That Are Perfect for Dividend Investors

    I wanted to find five foreign, profitable companies that investors would find worthwhile. They would have to be cheap stocks with low price-earnings ratios and high dividend yields. The idea is that by diversifying a portion of your portfolio in non-U.S. stocks, you will enhance your overall returns.Often, foreign equities provide a return that is not correlated with U.S. stocks. At least, that is the theory. There are some significant drawbacks. I have managed non-U.S. equity portfolios on the institutional side for a good number of years and am well familiar with these issues.For one, non-U.S. stocks are subject to currency fluctuations. When the dollar rises, the U.S. dollar return on non-U.S. equities tends to lag. However, I have learned that this effect tends to recycle over a number of years and sort of washes out.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsA second issue is that often, non-U.S. stocks pay dividends just twice a year. This is because the vast majority of foreign companies only report their earnings semi-annually. However, the larger U.S. listed American Depository Receipts (ADR) or American Depository Shares (ADS) tend to report quarterly and pay their dividends that way. This occurs either because U.S. holders are a big percentage of the share base, or the company perceives that its stock price is "made" in the U.S.Moreover, another issue is that many non-U.S. companies will pay their dividends out as a percentage of their semi-annual earnings. In other words, the dividends paid each year can fluctuate, based on profits. U.S. companies tend to pay out a steady dividend that increases over time. I have learned again that the larger non-U.S. stocks have started following the steady dividend approach.The following five cheap stocks are worthwhile investments. They all have higher-than-normal dividend yields that tend to be paid quarterly. They also have low price-earnings ratios.Here are five cheap stocks -- that pay nice dividends -- to buy now: * BP Midstream Partners (NYSE:BPMP) * Publicis Groupe (OTCMKTS:PUBGY) * Rio Tinto Group (NYSE:RIO) * Vodafone Group (NASDAQ:VOD) * Total (NYSE:TOT)Let's dive in and look at these foreign, cheap stocks more closely. Foreign Cheap Stocks: BP Midstream Partners (BPMP)Source: Pavel Kapysh / Shutterstock.com Dividend Yield: 12.5%BP (NYSE:BP) is a profitable foreign stock with a nice 10.9% dividend yield. But I thought I would focus on one of its spinoff companies, BP Midstream Partners. BPMP has a higher dividend yield than BP.BPMP is a U.S.-listed master limited partnership (MLP) that is focused solely on the midstream portion of the oil and gas life cycle. That involves running oil and gas onshore and offshore pipelines and terminals.Source: Mark R. Hake, CFA Now that more companies are looking to store oil and gas, its assets are close to fully occupied.BPMP declared a quarterly dividend on April 15 for 34.75 cents per share. That works out to an annualized dividend of $1.39. At today's price of $11, the stock yields 12.5%. This is higher than BP's distribution yield of just under 11%.The company reported excellent results for Q1 on May 8. It says that the quarterly distribution is covered 1.17 times by its earnings. Moreover, BPMP says it is targeting a 5% increase in its distributions to shareholders in 2020 over 2019. * 7 Stocks to Buy That Have Nothing But Upside In Their Future At 7.3 times earnings, with a 16.8% free cash flow yield and a 12.5% dividend yield, BPMP is very profitable and cheap. Investors should take a close look at the company. Publicis Groupe (PUBGY)Source: shutterstock.com Dividend Yield: 4.9%Next on my list of cheap stocks is Publicis Groupe. This is a French advertising, communications and digital marketing company. Publicis has its tentacles in a lot of related areas like media, technology, healthcare communications and consulting services. It owns famed companies Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett.Publicis Groupe trades on the over-the-counter market. Its dividend yield has been about 9%, and the forward price-earnings ratio is about 7. So it is a profitable company, but a cheap stock.Source: Mark R. Hake, CFA On April 13, Publicis reported its revenue, which was up 17%, although it included the effects of the acquisition of Epsilon. Its organic growth was down by 2.9% over last year. The company did not report its earnings, which apparently are done on a semi-annual basis.In addition, Publicis Groupe decided to cut its dividend by 50% to 1.15 euros. This works out to about 31.12 cents per ADR.There are four PUBGY ADRs per French ordinary share. As a result, PUBGY has a dividend yield of 4.9%. The company said it will pay the dividend in September.So Publicis Groupe is a cheap and profitable foreign stock with an above-average dividend yield. Rio Tinto Group (RIO)Source: BalkansCat / Shutterstock.com Dividend Yield: 8.4%Rio Tinto is a $74 billion mining company based in London. It produces iron ore, bauxite, copper, gold, silver, aluminum and a host of other commodities.Last year, Rio Tinto started paying dividends four times a year. It is still not clear that it will continue with this practice. I suspect it will, as there does not seem to be an announcement to the contrary. Based on last year's dividend of $3.82 per share, RIO stock yields 8.4%.Source: Mark R. Hake, CFA Moreover, the company has a website section showing consensus financial information, including production, revenue and earnings estimates by all its sell-side analysts. This is not allowed by U.S. regulators for U.S. stocks, for no good reason. But it is fairly common for foreign stocks under looser financial information regulations.Based on this I estimate that earnings will be $5.04 per ADR this year. The company just needs global lockdowns to relax, or at least ease up.This will increase the demand for global committees, especially iron and copper. As demand rises, the price of these commodities will increase and the company will make more money.This puts the stock at a very cheap multiple of just 9 times earnings. So, combined with the 8.4% dividend, RIO stock offers very good value for investors. Vodafone Group (VOD)Source: Photos by D / Shutterstock.com Dividend Yield: 6.6%Vodafone is a telecom and cable TV company based in the United Kingdom. The company has a $43.8 billion market value and its ADR is listed on the Nasdaq Exchange.VOD stock has a very high dividend yield at 6.6% and is quite attractive to investors at this level. It pays the dividend twice a year. Vodafone kept its final dividend level with last year in its earnings announcement on May 12.Source: Mark R. Hake, CFA This requires a little explanation. First of all, Vodafone is like most other UK stocks that report their earnings and dividends twice a year. But for some reason, even though VOD's earnings are in pounds, it pays out the dividend in eurocents.So for this fiscal year ending March 31, the Vodafone annual dividend was kept stable at 9 eurocents per share. Now since there are 10 ordinary shares for every one VOD ADR, and since the exchange rate is $1.0823 per euro, the U.S. dividend per VOD ADR is about 97 cents. That makes the annualized yield about 6.6%.To make things more complicated, the upcoming final dividend (half of the total dividend, since an interim dividend was already paid) is set at 4.5 eurocents per ordinary share. This will be paid on Aug. 7, 2020. This effectively makes the upcoming payment a dividend yield of about 3.3%. This depends on the exchange rate when the ADR payment is set.Vodafone's earnings for the year ending March were reasonably good. The bottom line is that the company expects its FY 2021 free cash flow to decline slightly from 5.7 billion pounds to 5.4 billion pounds. As a result, I expect the dividend will be kept level.This makes VOD stock very attractive as a stable, well-covered and high-dividend play for income investors. Total (TOT)Source: MDOGAN / Shutterstock.com Dividend Yield: 8.8%Total is a French oil and gas company. Last year the company paid four dividends to its shareholders, although it calls three of them "interim" dividends and the last one a "final" dividend.This past year, the company increased its dividend 5% to 2.68 euros per share. This works out to $2.92 per ADR.Source: Mark R. Hake, CFA As a result, the stock has a very attractive dividend yield of 8.8% for investors.I estimate that the stock is also cheap at just 7.4 times earnings. In its most recent Q1 earnings presentation, Total said its break-even level is at $25 per barrel of oil.So I expect the company will be able to stay profitable this quarter. As economic activity picks up, the company will be able to make more money once the price of oil rises.This is an attractively priced stock at below 8 times this year's earnings, based on the company's recent earnings results.As of this writing, Mark Hake, CFA does not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Mark Hake runs the Total Yield Value Guide, which you can review here. More From InvestorPlace * Top Stock Picker Reveals His Next 1,000% Winner * America's Richest ZIP Code Holds Shocking Secret * 1 Under-the-Radar 5G Stock to Buy Now * The 1 Stock All Retirees Must Own The post 5 Cheap Foreign Stocks That Are Perfect for Dividend Investors appeared first on InvestorPlace.

  • How To Play The Next Big Rally In Gold
    Oilprice.com

    How To Play The Next Big Rally In Gold

    The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and it is far from over, but for savvy investors there may be no better time to invest in “indirect” discount gold

  • Rio Tinto supporting WA jobs as COVID-19 recovery phase ramps up
    Business Wire

    Rio Tinto supporting WA jobs as COVID-19 recovery phase ramps up

    Rio Tinto’s iron ore business in Western Australia is continuing to recruit for skilled roles, apprentices, graduates and Aboriginal trainees to fill vacancies as the company progresses its development plans in the Pilbara.

  • Royal Flying Doctor Service and Rio Tinto partner to improve remote and rural Queensland health services
    Business Wire

    Royal Flying Doctor Service and Rio Tinto partner to improve remote and rural Queensland health services

    The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) and Rio Tinto have formed a new partnership to improve emergency and remotely delivered health care services across regional Queensland.

  • Reuters

    Belgium brings back its bling with reopening of world's largest diamond hub

    Antwerp is regaining its glitz as Belgium eases a two-month nationwide coronavirus lockdown that virtually halted business in the world's largest diamond trade centre. The return of some of the brokers, cutters and couriers who normally throng the city's heavily-guarded diamond district, known as the Square Mile, comes as two of the world's biggest gold refiners resume operations after Switzerland relaxed its lockdown measures. Belgium imposed the emergency restrictions on March 18 to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has killed 8,016 people in the country and infected 50,509, bringing most businesses to a grinding halt.

  • Even Proxy Advisers Are Split Over Mining’s Emissions Debate
    Bloomberg

    Even Proxy Advisers Are Split Over Mining’s Emissions Debate

    (Bloomberg) -- Key investor advisory groups are divided on whether Rio Tinto Group shareholders should support a demand for the world’s No. 2 miner to extend the range of its targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. is recommending Rio investors support a resolution tabled by an advocacy group calling on the producer to add additional targets, including so-called scope 3 emissions -- those generated by customers through the use of its products. In contrast, Glass Lewis & Co. advises holders to reject the plan at an annual meeting on Thursday.The division highlights a debate in the mining and energy sectors on the extent to which raw materials companies bear responsibility for emissions created when customers, such as steel mills, use their products. BHP Group has pledged to set goals for its scope 3 footprint later this year, and Royal Dutch Shell Plc last month set out plans to cut the same category of emissions by 65% by 2050.Shareholders “have a long-term interest in assessing whether Rio Tinto is adequately assessing and acting on its climate risk and opportunities,” including through “targets to work with its customers to achieve reductions in its scope 3 emissions,” ISS said in an April 30 note to clients, recommending they vote in favor of the proposal submitted by environmental campaign group Market Forces and a small group of investors. Rio has advised investors to vote against the proposal.Why ‘Scope’ Matters for Oil Companies Cutting Carbon: QuickTakeLondon based-Rio argues that unlike competitors who produce fossil fuels and can potentially supply less-carbon intensive alternatives, it has little capacity to address the emissions created by its customers. The company’s scope 3 emissions are generated mainly when its iron ore is used in China’s steel mills, or bauxite is consumed in the aluminum-making process.“Our ability to directly influence our customers’ emissions is limited,” Peter Toth, Rio’s global head of corporate development, told an investor meeting last month. “It is even difficult to accurately quantify their emissions and so our strategy is to work in partnership across these value chains.”The producer is collaborating with China Baowu Steel Group and Tsinghua University in Beijing to curb pollution in the steel sector, which accounts for about 7% of all global emissions.Read More: Rio Tinto Rejects Setting Targets for Customers’ PollutionDirect annual emissions from Rio’s operations are about 31.8 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, compared with the company’s estimate of about 491 million tons of emissions in its wider supply chain, the miner said earlier this year.Rio said in February it would seek to cut emissions from its own businesses by 15% on 2018 levels by 2030, will target net zero emissions by 2050 and spend $1 billion over the next five years on the efforts.While the producer should continue to reduce its own emissions, it’s probably not “feasible for the company to set goals based on how its customers determine to utilize its products,” Glass Lewis said in a note to clients last month. The producer has made “extensive disclosure on the steps it is taking to mitigate its environmental impact,” according to the adviser.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Rio Tinto contributes $10 million to support COVID-19 community initiatives across Canada and United States
    Business Wire

    Rio Tinto contributes $10 million to support COVID-19 community initiatives across Canada and United States

    In order to support local community efforts to fight COVID-19 and its social and economic impacts, Rio Tinto is investing $10 million in a variety of grassroots projects across Canada and the United States.

  • Reuters

    Lithium developer ioneer forecasts high margins for Nevada project

    Australian lithium developer ioneer Ltd on Wednesday forecast production costs for its Nevada lithium mine far below current prices for the white metal, implying large margins once it begins production in 2023. Albemarle Corp is the only current U.S. producer of lithium. On Wednesday, ioneer published the definitive feasibility study for its Rhyolite Ridge lithium and boron project in the northern part of Nevada, forecasting cash costs of about $2,510 per tonne of lithium carbonate.

  • Reuters

    World's mine workers resist quick restart amid coronavirus

    As mining heavyweights South Africa and Peru move to lift coronavirus lockdowns, workers in deep mines are resisting going back to work without adequate protective gear and information about cases at sites, with one major union filing legal action against restart plans. The workers fear being literal canaries in the coal mine in facilities where social distancing is nearly impossible and warn that companies are not divulging coronavirus cases, putting them at risk. Peru, which hopes to end its own lockdown on May 10, is the world's No. 2 copper producer and No. 6 gold producer.

  • Moody's

    Rio Tinto Finance (USA) Limited -- Moody's affirms all Rio Tinto group ratings; outlook stable

    Moody's Investors Service, ("Moody's") affirmed all Rio Tinto group ratings (A2 senior unsecured, Prime-1 short term. A full list of the ratings can be found at the end of this press release. "The affirmation of the Rio Tinto Group's ratings reflects the resiliency of the company's performance in weaker price environments, particularly its iron ore operations which are the driving force in revenue, EBITDA, and cash flow generation" said Carol Cowan, Moody's Senior Vice President and lead analyst for the Rio Tinto Group.

  • Moody's

    Northwest Acquisitions ULC -- Moody's downgrades Northwest Acquisitions ULC's PDR to D-PD following insolvency protection filing

    Moody's Investors Service, ("Moody's") has today downgraded Northwest Acquisitions ULC's ("Northwest") probability of default rating (PDR) to D-PD from Caa1-PD, its corporate family rating (CFR) to Ca from Caa1, its first lien secured rating to Caa1 from B2, and its second lien secured rating to Ca from Caa1. The rating action follows Northwest filing for insolvency protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act ("CCAA").

  • Diamonds Need Some New Best Friends
    Bloomberg

    Diamonds Need Some New Best Friends

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- It’s looking decidedly somber out there for the world’s favorite sparkly stone.Diamonds were ailing even before the coronavirus came along. Now, weeks into lockdowns in the U.S. and elsewhere, all but the largest diggers, polishers and retailers are struggling for cash. Unable to sell its stones, Dominion Diamond Mines, the miner that sold luxury brand Harry Winston to Swatch Group AG in 2013, filed for insolvency protection late Wednesday. Anglo American Plc’s De Beers cut 2020 production guidance by a fifth Thursday, in line with demand.To secure their future, diamond giants may need a rebranding akin to the storytelling feat pulled off by Harry Oppenheimer, the late De Beers chairman who cultivated the engagement ring to overcome a slump after the Great Depression. In so doing, he forged a tradition that fueled sales for decades. Today, a refreshed myth-making effort could target the post-pandemic concerns of millennial consumers: marketing the diamond as a store of value in volatile times comparable to art, which is also authentic, traceable and sustainable.Since 2011, when prices peaked thanks to China’s new shoppers, diamonds have faltered. Lab-grown stones, initially priced confusingly close to the real thing, posed a challenge. To make things worse, a supply glut hit the market, pushing producers to cut prices. A 26-million-carat increase in 2017 was the largest single-year volume addition since 1986, according to consulting firm Bain & Co. Meanwhile, financing availability shrank dramatically as traditional lenders pulled away. A 2018 fraud scandal involving celebrated Indian jeweler Nirav Modi didn’t help. The coronavirus will accelerate some developments that aren’t unwelcome. In supply terms, the industry may look healthier if older or more marginal mines are obliged to stop digging. Rio Tinto Group last year had already announced the 2020 closure of its Argyle mine, which produces both low-quality gems and fabled pink diamonds, taking some 13 million carats out of global annual production of just over 140 million. The current crisis will add to that. In March, Dominion stopped work at its Ekati mine in Canada, and other pits have been closed or are working only partially. Not all will return.There will be a shakeout among polishers and perhaps more integration in some parts of the industry, of the sort demonstrated by Louis Vuitton’s purchase earlier this year of the largest rough diamond since 1905. Sales of rough and polished stones will change too, as travel restrictions in South Africa, Botswana and India push more deals online. It’s a remarkable feat for a conservative industry that thrives on face-to-face interaction, and arcane systems like De Beers’ “sights,” as its regular sales are known.Yet the scale of this health crisis, rapidly turning into an economic cataclysm, has also made other problems far worse. India’s polishers are not only strapped for credit, but also struggling with a weaker rupee, lockdowns and curfews; Thousands of workers have been forced to leave hubs like Surat altogether. Elsewhere, both diamantaires and jewelry buyers are stuck at home, making it harder to clear excess inventory. The flow of diamonds has dwindled to barely a trickle.The real concern is demand, where a grim outlook for disposable incomes suggests a hoped-for 2020 recovery is impossible, even as supply shrinks. The very top of the market may be insulated, but further down even China’s “revenge purchases” aren’t going to be enough. As my colleague Nisha Gopalan has pointed out, such splurges won’t save luxury products — especially if U.S. job losses continue to pile up. Inventory could flood the market, too.All this upheaval does makes it a good time to rethink the storytelling behind diamonds, though. Coordinated marketing, once the industry’s go-to solution, will need to make a comeback as consumers emerge from the wreckage of coronavirus. Post-pandemic values may change broadly.Three things could be highlighted. First, a store of value for the long term, especially for the largest gems where prices vary less. Like art, or fine wine, only wearable. Better yet, to appeal to the millennials that make up its consumer base, the industry can promote the stones’ authenticity, building on existing work around provenance and traceability, dating back to the Kimberley Process, the multilateral system aimed at ensuring the proceeds of diamond mining aren’t used to fund conflict. The industry is also sustainable, with relatively clean, chemical-free processes.Marketing spend has recovered after a dip in the past decade, but coordinated industry expenditure remains far below even the early 2000s. While the likes of De Beers and Alrosa PJSC may be reluctant to sponsor cash-strapped smaller rivals, it would be money well spent. Nearly seven decades after Marilyn Monroe’s immortal song, it's time for a new myth.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Clara Ferreira Marques is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities and environmental, social and governance issues. Previously, she was an associate editor for Reuters Breakingviews, and editor and correspondent for Reuters in Singapore, India, the U.K., Italy and Russia.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters

    RPT-COLUMN-New aluminium crisis looms as output rises in demand void: Andy Home

    Global aluminium production rose by 2.1% over the first three months of this year, according to the latest figures from the International Aluminium Institute. In the opaque aluminium market the truest signal is price and that on the London Metal Exchange hit a four-year low of $1,455 per tonne earlier this month. Other industrial metals are experiencing a supply shock which is partly mitigating the coronavirus demand shock as mines around the world are forced to stop operations due to lockdowns in key producer countries such as Peru.

  • Reuters

    COLUMN-New aluminium crisis looms as output rises in demand void: Andy Home

    Global aluminium production rose by 2.1% over the first three months of this year, according to the latest figures from the International Aluminium Institute. In the opaque aluminium market the truest signal is price and that on the London Metal Exchange hit a four-year low of $1,455 per tonne earlier this month. Other industrial metals are experiencing a supply shock which is partly mitigating the coronavirus demand shock as mines around the world are forced to stop operations due to lockdowns in key producer countries such as Peru.

  • Bloomberg

    As Oil Crashes, Iron Ore's Still Rocking

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Last year was supposed to be an aberration for iron ore, an unexpected period of sky-high prices after a fatal dam collapse in Brazil and a tropical cyclone in Australia. Instead, it continues to defy gravity. Sheltered from the worst of the pandemic upheaval, Australian diggers like BHP Group, which reported stable output for the March quarter Tuesday, can expect to benefit.Rio de Janeiro-based Vale SA warned just weeks ago that weak demand from steel mills outside China would hurt iron ore as the coronavirus spreads, industrial appetite shrinks and producers bring down the shutters. The first part of the statement has proved accurate: Bloomberg Intelligence forecasts that pandemic-linked manufacturing shutdowns, especially among automakers, will drag demand down by 10% to 15% in the U.S. and Europe this year. BHP says it expects steel outside China to contract by a double-digit percentage, as logistical difficulties and collapsing demand force customers to cut back. Yet prices remain surprisingly robust, with Singapore futures hovering around $83 per metric ton. The main explanation sits with China, where furnaces and construction projects are recovering. The country accounts for about 70% of global demand for seaborne iron ore, so a rebound there matters far more than pain elsewhere. By way of example, China’s import requirements amount to about 1.1 billion tons, against 100 million for Europe.While the risk of a second wave of infections remains, China’s return to work is real: Port stocks have been steadily reducing, while premiums for higher-quality material have been unusually high. BHP estimates electric-arc furnace utilization has recovered to 56% after falling to 12%. It’s true that exporters of finished products such as excavators will be hit by a weak global economy, but a lot more ore is gobbled up for the giant home market.Alongside that, global supply is doing worse than many expected. Granted, widespread closures aren’t just a problem for iron ore. Coronavirus stoppages are hitting other commodities like copper, where Chris LaFemina at Jefferies estimates 20% of supply is now impacted, versus 8% for global iron ore. That supply crunch is supporting base metals and other commodities to the point that China’s grim first-quarter economic data left the metal uncharacteristically unruffled Friday.For iron ore, there’s more. On top of the pandemic, there are ongoing disruptions: specifically, upheaval at Vale, which is still struggling with permits as it tries to recover from the Brumadinho dam collapse. On Friday, the company cut 2020 production expectations for iron ore fines to 310 million to 330 million tons, from 340 million to 355 million, while warning the fallout from the health crisis could get worse. The Brazilian government’s poor handling of the pandemic means it isn’t impossible to imagine a drop to 2019’s level of 302 million tons — a significant loss to a large, though tight, seaborne market.For producers Down Under, none of this is bad news. While in copper everyone is suffering as large mines from Latin America to Africa slow or stop digging, the pain in iron ore hasn’t been equally distributed. Australia’s enormous Pilbara operations have by and large kept going, with exports up significantly last month. Vale is benefiting from higher prices that may cushion output losses; by contrast, the big Australians are digging and selling more, too. BHP reported a 3% increase in production for the nine months to the end of March. Rio Tinto Group, now the world’s top producer, last week also reported higher first-quarter output and shipments, compared to a year earlier.Better yet, costs are coming down. That’s thanks to the effects of a weaker domestic currency against the U.S. dollar, rock-bottom oil prices and still-depressed shipping rates. BHP’s unit costs for Pilbara already hovered around $13 per ton. At the same time, realized prices have held — BHP says its average in the March quarter was just over $74 per ton, down just 5% on the six months to December. That will help offset damage in harder-hit commodities, particularly oil.It’s unclear how long this corner of the commodities market will continue to hold up. Other producers may well limp back, adding to supply, and China could face further virus setbacks. For now, Brazil looks vulnerable and China robust. It may be another unexpected year of grace for iron ore. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Clara Ferreira Marques is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities and environmental, social and governance issues. Previously, she was an associate editor for Reuters Breakingviews, and editor and correspondent for Reuters in Singapore, India, the U.K., Italy and Russia.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Rio Tinto increases COVID-19 screening measures at Perth Airport
    Business Wire

    Rio Tinto increases COVID-19 screening measures at Perth Airport

    Rio Tinto has introduced further measures to help combat the spread of COVID-19 in Western Australia following the start of rapid screening trials at Perth Airport.

  • Fortune Will Favor Miners with Nerves of Steel
    Bloomberg

    Fortune Will Favor Miners with Nerves of Steel

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- After years of buying at the peak of the economic cycle and selling in the trough, could the world’s big diggers do the reverse? Compared to peers in oil and gas, Rio Tinto Group and the largest diversified miners are riding out the coronavirus storm in sheltered positions: They have low operating costs, little debt and more than $60 billion in liquidity.History matters here. Just over a decade ago, miners binged on hubristic investments like Rio’s acquisition of aluminum producer Alcan or Anglo American Plc’s Minas Rio iron-ore venture. In the hangover years between 2012 and 2016, some $200 billion was written off, and a generation of chief executives were shown the door. It was a near-death experience akin to what the energy sector is going through today, and one that left behind an industry focused on cleaning up, cutting back and returning cash to shareholders. Rio has been among the most generous, handing back $36 billion since 2016.It means the industry’s largest players went into this crisis with two things: balance sheets at their most robust in years, and a pedestrian growth outlook. Almost the opposite is true at long-coveted targets like Freeport-McMoRan Inc., with a market value of $11 billion, and First Quantum Minerals Ltd., valued at $3.5 billion. These mid-size base metal producers are beginning to look fragile, with expanding copper mines but nearly $19 billion of total debt between them. Their shares have fallen more than 40% this year. No one knows how long a recovery from the pandemic will take, or what life will look like on the other side, but miners have a little more certainty than most: Metals like copper, used for electrification and a host of consumer goods, will be needed, and will be in short supply. It’s a tantalizing state of affairs. As ever, things aren’t quite that simple, and even the heftiest miners aren’t immune to the world’s turmoil. BHP Group has to contend with the crashing oil price. Anglo American is dealing with lockdowns in South Africa, Peru and elsewhere, as governments try to contain the spread of coronavirus. Glencore Plc, long the most buccaneering of the large players, is tackling succession, trouble in Zambia and a pending U.S. Department of Justice investigation into its business practices.At Rio, Chief Executive Officer Jean-Sebastien Jacques has perhaps the strongest motivation to act. He is less exposed to many of these uncertainties, and is running a miner that still relies on iron ore for about three-quarters of its Ebitda, as steel consumption hovers at or near a peak in China. Large mainland miners, like acquisitive Zijin Mining Group or Jiangxi Copper Co., may be his competitors. There are cashed-up bullion players, too: Barrick Gold Corp.’s CEO, Mark Bristow, has said he could consider copper and even Freeport’s Indonesian Grasberg mine.The trouble is, we’re not yet at the distress levels that will prompt boards to approve a rush for checkbooks. Travel and due diligence are impossible, markets are too volatile for share deals and the next few months remain an unknown quantity. Shareholders may balk. In past crises, even distressed sellers were able to command premiums, so bargains will be tough. Copper prices are still above the depths of 2016.Worse, not even the most obvious prey would be easy to snap up: Freeport and First Quantum come with traps. Freeport, the world’s largest listed copper producer, faces the question of who will lead it when veteran Richard Adkerson retires, along with concerns over older U.S. mines and the costly move underground at Grasberg. Rio, unhappy with the environmental and political risks, sold its interest in the Indonesian mine in 2018. First Quantum, more bite-sized and so perhaps more appealing, battened down the hatches earlier this year with a poison pill, after Jiangxi Copper built an 18% stake. Its flagship Cobre Panama mine has yet to  operate through a full wet season. Chinese players eyeing miners with Australian assets, meanwhile, would also have to deal with a regulator bent on discouraging opportunistic foreign bargain-hunters.Yet the longer the pandemic lockdowns drag on, the more the pain increases, as fixed costs go out and no cash comes in. It’s visible already in lithium, with Tianqi Lithium Corp. seeking to sell part of its stake in the Greenbushes operation in Australia, as it struggles to repay debt taken on to buy a stake in Chilean giant SQM. It’s rare to see large Chinese producers in distressed sales, even if lithium prices have plummeted since 2018. Rare-earth producer Lynas Corp., meanwhile, says it may need public funds to complete an ore-processing plant. Buyers won’t pounce yet. A global economic recovery isn’t in sight and will be slow; most will need a little more confidence that growth is coming back. That will mean a wider improvement than China’s stimulus and return to work, as encouraging as State Grid Corp.’s 2020 investment plans may be. They’ll also need travel restrictions to lift. Wait too long, though, and the opportunity to buy cheap will pass — again. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Clara Ferreira Marques is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities and environmental, social and governance issues. Previously, she was an associate editor for Reuters Breakingviews, and editor and correspondent for Reuters in Singapore, India, the U.K., Italy and Russia.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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    Business Wire

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    Rio Tinto Chief Executive J-S Jacques said "In these uncertain and unprecedented times we continue to deliver products to our customers with our first priority to protect the health and safety of all our employees and communities. We are focused on maintaining a business as usual approach and have taken extensive measures to ensure we can do so safely.

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    Schaeffer's Investment Research

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  • Rio Tinto discloses details of the $7.6 billion taxes paid in 2019
    Business Wire

    Rio Tinto discloses details of the $7.6 billion taxes paid in 2019

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