BHP 1.06% $45.69 bhp group limited

bhp & rio on the up and up

  1. 9,081 Posts.
    Both had good rises on overnight markets -

    BHP up almost 3% ; RIO up nearly 2%

    WHY? Looks like China might be the key to rising metal prices.

    "Steel-hungry China boosts BHP iron ore output
    (Adds analyst comment)

    By Wendy Pugh

    MELBOURNE, July 24 (Reuters) - Strong demand from steelmakers supplying a resource-hungry China has pushed up quarterly iron ore production 14 percent at the world's largest diversified miner, BHP Billiton Ltd/Plc .

    BHP Billiton (LSE: BLT.L - news - msgs) , following an upbeat production report by its Anglo-Australian rival Rio Tinto Ltd/Plc , also said on Thursday shipments from its Western Australian iron ore operations reached record levels in the fiscal year ended June 30.

    "The steel industry in Asia is growing on the back of China and BHP is able to leverage into that, through not just iron ore, but also hard coking coal and manganese, which is all consumed by steel companies," analyst Glyn Lawc*ck said.

    Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO.L - news - msgs) , due to report half-year results on July 31, had reported booming iron ore production on Chinese demand on Wednesday, leading some analysts to upgrade earnings forecasts.

    BHP Billiton will report its 2002/03 earnings on August 28.

    BHP Billiton shares gained 2.1 percent to reach a three-and-a-half month high of A$9.65, extending Wednesday's rally after Rio Tinto's production data highlighted the strong iron ore market.

    China's economy is growing at an annual rate of about eight percent, fuelling demand for cars and housing from an increasingly wealthy middle class. Car sales are on track to double this year, passing the two million mark.

    Steel companies from around the world are rushing to set up plants in the country, and China's largest steel maker, Baosteel , reported this week quarterly profits nearly tripled.

    The quarterly production report showed BHP's share of iron ore output from Australia and Brazil in the fiscal fourth quarter ended June 30 increased to 19.4 million tonnes. The company, the world's third largest iron ore exporter behind Brazil's CVRD and Rio Tinto, said production rose 9 percent to 73.7 million tonnes for the fiscal year.

    Copper production for the June quarter increased seven percent to 229,200 tonnes, boosted by the expansion of the Escondida operation in Chile, while crude oil and condensate production dropped 21 percent to 15.6 million barrels as output declined from mature Australian fields.

    Expanded Mozambique production capacity boosted aluminium output by four percent to 273,000 tonnes, while alumina production was also up four percent to 1.1 million tonnes, as government-enforced power rationing ended in Brazil.

    Metallurgical coal output was down four percent to 9.0 million tonnes, while energy coal production increased seven percent to 22 million tonnes.

    The company said nickel production in the quarter increased 19 percent to 21,000 tonnes following a strong performance at its operations in Australia and Colombia.

    Record annual nickel production of 31,200 tonnes was reached at the Australian QNI Yabulu refinery following ore processing enhancements at the plant. (US$1=A$1.52) "
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