April 30, 2019 / 6:24 AM / 6 months ago

Glencore cuts 2019 copper production target

(Reuters) - Miner and trader Glencore lowered its target for 2019 copper output following severe flooding in Australia as well as safety outages that led to a 7 percent year-on-year drop in production in the first quarter.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of commodities trader Glencore is pictured in front of the company's headquarters in Baar, Switzerland, July 18, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

The news drove Glencore’s share price down 2.4 percent by 0845 GMT on Tuesday.

First quarter copper production fell to 320,700 tonnes, missing BMO Capital Markets’ estimate by 11 percent, while cobalt output jumped 56 percent.

Glencore said it expects copper production for the year to be 1,460,000 tonnes, plus or minus 30,000 tonnes. It had earlier forecast approximately 1,540,000 tonnes.

This month, BHP Group, the world’s biggest miner, and Rio Tinto, the second biggest listed miner, cut their forecasts for iron ore output after a tropical cyclone in Australia.

Glencore also cited safety-related stoppages and smelter outages at Mopani copper mine in Zambia for its first quarter production shortfall.

In addition it narrowed its cobalt outlook, saying full year output should be 57,000 tonnes plus or minus 4,000 tonnes, versus plus or minus 5,000 tonnes previously.

The mining sector as a whole has come under pressure from concerns about its exposure to environmental and political risk.

Glencore is particularly vulnerable because of its presence in countries, viewed as high risk, such as Democratic Republic of Congo, although that is also where most of the world’s cobalt, needed for electric vehicles, is found.

Glencore’s shares fell around 3 percent on Friday after the U.S Commodity Futures Trading Commission said it was investigating possible corrupt practices.

Graphic: Glencore lags peers as U.S. investigations continue (tmsnrt.rs/2DG8MOj)

This month Glencore’s Katanga Mining unit in Congo restarted after work to treat cobalt which had excess uranium content, something that has constrained exports.

Shipping also resumed this month but is still subject to monitoring.

Glencore, the world’s biggest shipper of seaborne coal, has said it will limit its coal capacity as pressure mounts on miners to help curb carbon emissions.

Its coal output in the first quarter was up 8 percent from a year earlier, reflecting the integration of assets Glencore acquired.

BMO in a note said it was a weak first quarter, but maintained its “outperform” rating.

Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru and Barbara Lewis in London; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Jason Neely

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