RIO
Rio Tinto plcNYSE
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  • Wed, Nov. 30, 11:18 AM
    • Iron ore prices fell today by the most since March, extending a retreat from a two-year high, as China’s exchanges lowered the daily trading limit and raised margin requirements in a bid to clamp down on speculation.
    • Ore with 62% content delivered to Qingdao fell 6.8% to $72.08/ton after hitting $80.83 on Monday, the highest since October 2014 and culminating a 65% YTD surge.
    • Despite the steps to tighten trading rules, "the basics that are driving that speculation - the search for higher yielding assets and the desire to hold U.S. dollars at a time for a weaker yuan - have not changed,” says Westpac Banking economist Justin Smirk. “As such, we would expect to see significant volatility for some time.
    • Relevant tickers: BHP, RIO, VALE, OTCQX:FSUMF.
    | Wed, Nov. 30, 11:18 AM | 7 Comments
  • Tue, Nov. 29, 8:33 AM
    • Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) is asking Chinese steel mills to pay a premium for its highest grade iron ore product for the first time since 2010, Reuters reports.
    • Rio is seeking up to $1/ton more than the index price for Pilbara's PB fines from Chinese mills on long-term contracts for 2017, in a break from a years-long trend of pricing at spot values, according to the report; Rio previously was selling the ore at a premium only to traders.
    • Rio reportedly also has pushed up the premium it seeks from traders to $2-$2.50/ton over the index price for PB fines for January to April, which would be a record high and up from a premium of $1.50 for the four-month period through this December.
    • "The steel market is so hot this year and they think it's something that buyers can accept," a source tells Reuters. "If Rio gets it, other miners may follow."
    • Related tickers include BHP, VALE.
    | Tue, Nov. 29, 8:33 AM | 4 Comments
  • Mon, Nov. 28, 1:57 PM
    • The SEC is investigating a $3B impairment charge Rio Tinto (RIO +0.2%) booked on a 2013 Mozambique coal deal, Bloomberg reports.
    • The probe is ongoing and is separate to an internal Rio review into payments made to a consultant regarding an iron ore project in Guinea, according to the report.
    • Rio acquired Riversdale Mining in 2011 for A$3.9B before writing the value of the assets down by $3B two years later; the charge, part of a wider $14B in asset writedowns, helped lead to the departure of then CEO Tom Albanese.
    | Mon, Nov. 28, 1:57 PM | 1 Comment
  • Wed, Nov. 23, 6:37 PM
    • Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) outlines plans to generate $5B of additional free cash flow over the next five years from a productivity drive as part of its long-term strategy.
    • Rio also forecasts lower capital spending than it had indicated earlier, coming in at less than $3.5B vs. previous guidance of ~$4B; capex guidance of $5B in 2017 and $5.5B in 2018 is unchanged from previous estimates.
    • In addition to raising productivity across its $50B portfolio of assets by " focusing on operational excellence to generate superior shareholder returns through the cycle," Rio says it is committed to investing in growing the business in the near term via three key projects: Silvergrass in Western Australia, Amrun in Queensland and Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia.
    | Wed, Nov. 23, 6:37 PM
  • Wed, Nov. 23, 7:45 AM
    • Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) agrees to sell its aluminum-related operations in Scotland to privately-owned SIMEC for $410M (£330M), part of its plan to trim some of its less profitable aluminum operations.
    • The sale includes Rio's Alcan Aluminium UK unit, which includes an operating aluminum smelter at Fort William, hydroelectric facilities at Kinlochleven and Lochaber, and associated land.
    • Rio Tinto has now agreed to more than $1.3B in divestments in the current year, bringing the total value of divestments announced or completed to $5.3B since January 2013.
    | Wed, Nov. 23, 7:45 AM
  • Tue, Nov. 22, 3:45 PM
    • U.S. Steel (X +11.4%), AK Steel (AKS +10.7%), Steel Dynamics (STLD +4.1%), Nucor (NUE +4.4%) and Commercial Metals (CMC +4.7%) all surge to 52-week highs, extending their Trump-fueled rally as trade protectionist talk suggests that higher than usual premiums can be achieved for steel mills.
    • BofA Merrill Lynch raises its 2017 average price estimate for U.S. hot-rolled coil to $650/short ton vs. its prior view of $535, as rising global prices and more protectionism should fuel strong steel prices into 2017 (SLX +5.8%).
    • Bloomberg reports BofA boosted its stock price targets for Buy-rated AKS to $12 from $7, STLD to $37 from $30, CMC to $24 from $20, NUE to $65 from $57, and Allegheny Tech (ATI +7.5%) to $20 from $19; the firm remains Neutral on X and Reliant Steel (RS +6.1%).
    • Also sharply higher today: MT +8.3%, CLF +13.8%, WOR +5.3%, RIO +4.1%, BHP +5.2%, VALE +7.8%.
    | Tue, Nov. 22, 3:45 PM | 15 Comments
  • Mon, Nov. 21, 8:25 AM
    • Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) says it is preparing to cut more jobs at its West Australian iron ore business, in the miner's third sizable cutback in the past two years.
    • Rio is not specifying the number of jobs to be cut, although local media reported up to 500 management and support positions were on the line; Rio currently employs ~11K workers after cutting 700 people early this year and 800 early last year.
    • Rio says "the market outlook remains challenging, and we currently have 1,000 initiatives underway across our business to reduce costs [and] improve productivity."
    | Mon, Nov. 21, 8:25 AM
  • Wed, Nov. 16, 4:59 PM
    • Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) terminates top energy and minerals executive Alan Davies and legal executive Debra Valentine following the company's probe into payments connected to its Simandou iron ore project in Guinea.
    • Last week, Rio suspended Davies over $10.5M in payments made to a consultant in 2011 for assisting negotiations with Guinea’s President on the mine.
    • Davies will be replaced by Bold Baatar, who will join the executive committee as Energy and Minerals chief executive.
    | Wed, Nov. 16, 4:59 PM | 2 Comments
  • Wed, Nov. 16, 10:56 AM
    • Global copper markets will be oversupplied for at least two years, according to executives at some of the world's top copper producers, casting doubt on the chances of a prolonged rally in prices.
    • The cautious outlook comes after benchmark copper prices last week recorded their biggest weekly gain since 2011, largely fueled by Pres.-elect Trump's promises of infrastructure spending.
    • "In 2017, it will still be a relatively oversupplied market. In 2018 it will not be better than 2017," says a VP at Jiangxi Copper, China's largest copper producer; he also describes the market's recent moves as "irrational."
    • The founder and president of Maike Metals Group, one of China's top metals traders, says China's government needs to control "overspeculation" in the local futures market, hit by volatile trading over the last week as it was whipsawed by speculative cash.
    • Relevant tickers include FCX, BHP, RIO, VALE, OTCPK:GLCNF, OTCPK:GLNCY, OTC:ANFGF, OTCPK:AAUKF, OTCPK:AAUKY, JJC, CPER, CUPM.
    | Wed, Nov. 16, 10:56 AM | 18 Comments
  • Wed, Nov. 16, 7:48 AM
    • BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) says it will run its iron ore mines at full speed through the year-end amid surging global prices rather than suspend some Australia operations like rival Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO).
    • Rio, Australia's biggest iron ore miner, yesterday announced a two-week shutdown during Christmas at its Hope Downs 4 mine in Western Australia, although it expects the mine to meet its 2016 production target.
    • Fortescue Metals (OTCQX:FSUMF) also says it will keep its operations running through Christmas.
    • BHP -2.5% premarket, RIO -1.8%.
    | Wed, Nov. 16, 7:48 AM
  • Tue, Nov. 15, 9:17 AM
    | Tue, Nov. 15, 9:17 AM | 8 Comments
  • Tue, Nov. 15, 9:16 AM
    • Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) -5.7% premarket on news it is suspending operations at one of its biggest iron ore mines in Australia over Christmas to cut costs and maximize cash in expectation of a difficult year ahead.
    • The two-week closure of the Hope Downs 4 mine in the Pilbara, the world’s biggest iron ore producing region, is the first by Rio since the financial crisis in 2008.
    • Rio is ordering the temporary mine closure despite surging iron ore prices, leading analysts to speculate that the move may have more to do with limited rail capacity on Rio’s Pilbara network as well as a shot across the bow against a proposal to increase state taxes on Australia’s biggest iron ore producers.
    | Tue, Nov. 15, 9:16 AM
  • Mon, Nov. 14, 8:35 AM
    • Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) CEO Jean Sebastien Jacques says an investigation into the lawfulness of a payment made to a consultant relating to the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea has “shell-shocked” the company and may take several years to resolve, Bloomberg reports, citing an internal memo.
    • Last week, RIO alerted authorities to a $10.5M payment made in 2011 for assisting negotiations with Guinea’s president; an e-mail exchange discussing the payment shows former CEOs Tom Albanese and Sam Walsh, who was then head of Rio’s iron ore unit, were aware of the payment.
    • Separately, Rio is "cautiously optimistic" about the current copper market that has spiked in recent weeks but holds a stronger outlook for the mid- and long-term market.
    | Mon, Nov. 14, 8:35 AM
  • Fri, Nov. 11, 10:30 AM
    • The price of iron ore jumps 7.4% to $79.70/metric ton, marking its highest level since October 2014, on expectations of better than expected demand in the U.S. and China as well a slower than expected iron ore supply growth in recent months.
    • Iron ore prices have surged 18% since the Trump election victory; other commodities such as copper also have rallied due to expectations that Trump will aim to fulfill his promise of spending more on U.S. infrastructure.
    • But the rise may be overdone, according to Capital Economics Ltd., which expects iron ore to face growing pressure on rising supply from Australia and Brazil as well as headwinds to demand in China.
    • Relevant tickers include BHP, RIO, VALE, CLF, OTCPK:AAUKF, OTCPK:AAUKY, OTCPK:GLCNF, OTCPK:GLNCY.
    | Fri, Nov. 11, 10:30 AM | 41 Comments
  • Fri, Nov. 11, 8:58 AM
    • Copper was trading up 3% in late Asian trade, rising for a seventh straight session and up more than 15% for the week in what would be its biggest weekly gain since 1980, according to Reuters.
    • Copper already had been moving higher by a surge in China steel and coal prices, but Trump's surprise election victory and comments in his acceptance speech on increased infrastructure spending fueled further buying.
    • Traders say the pace of gains has been amplified by momentum-based fund buying, much of it from China, after prices this week smashed through a key chart resistance.
    • Analysts also are revising down expectations of mine supply for 2017, after January's price slump to six-year lows forced some high-cost mines to shut, and with new supply from Peru largely complete.
    • Relevant tickers include FCX, BHP, RIO, VALE, OTCPK:GLCNF, OTCPK:GLNCY, OTC:ANFGF, JJC, CPER, CUPM.
    | Fri, Nov. 11, 8:58 AM | 34 Comments
  • Wed, Nov. 9, 11:19 AM
    • Copper surges to a 15-month high, now +2.9% at $2.45/lb. after rising as much as 3.4% to its highest since July 2015, also boosting other metals as some investors speculate that a Trump presidency could launch significant fiscal stimulus and boost demand for metals.
    • In his victory speech last night, Trump said he would prioritize the rebuilding of American infrastructure with hopes of doubling U.S. economic growth.
    • Among related tickers: FCX +7.7%, RIO +5.9%, BHP +3.4%, VALE +4.2%, MT +10.6%, X +17.1%, STLD +8.2%, AKS +11%, NUE +11.6%, CLF +12%, RS +8.5%, WOR +3.8%.
    • ETFs: JJC, CPER, CUPM
    | Wed, Nov. 9, 11:19 AM | 45 Comments