All Eyes on BHP, Rio Production Numbers

A big week for the local market – not for the earnings results – but for the production and sales data from two of the world’s mining majors and iron ore giants – Rio Tinto and BHP.

In the case of Rio it is the 4th quarter and full year figures that will be released tomorrow (Tuesday). BHP’s first half and December quarter figures will be issued the following day.

In the 9 months to September, Rio sales were flat on a year earlier at 241.7 million tonnes while production was up 2% at 247.4 million tonnes. September quarter sales totalled 82.1 million tonnes, down 5% and production 86.4 million, down 1%.

Rio has a 2020 sales target of 324 to 334 million tonnes. Sales at the September quarter rate would see Rio sell close to 330 million tonnes.

In the three months to September BHP sold 73.1 million tonnes of iron ore, up 7% and produced 74 million tonnes, up 7% (including other shareholders share) or 66.1% for BHP alone, up 8%).

Analysts and shareholders will be looking to see if the two big miners have been able to exploit the near record surge in iron ore prices to more than $US170 a tonne in December by maintaining or boosting output and sales over the final quarter of 2020.

Both are also major copper miners and that metal surged to near 8-year highs towards the end of the year.

BHP’s figures will also give us a sign of the damage being done by China’s ban on Australian coal exports, while the rebound in oil prices should see BHP Petroleum to reveal better figures to ride that surge.

The share price so both companies hit new highs last week off the back of the higher oil prices.

BHP shares ended 1.7% ahead at $46.82 on Friday and touching a fresh intraday peak of $47.545.

Rio Tinto gained 0.7% to $120.52. Rio shares hit an all-time high of $127 on January 7.

Fortescue Metals rose 1.7% to end at $25.18.

Woodside Petroleum is due to release its 4th quarter and 2020 production and exploration report this week as well.

A couple of companies are due to report this week, led by linked listed investment companies, Australian Foundation Investment Co (Wednesday) and Djerriwarrh Investments today (another linked company, Mirrabooka reported on Thursday).


Glenn Dyer

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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