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19 Jan 2021 | 07:43

China demand recovery boosts Rio Tinto iron ore shipments

(Sharecast News) - Rio Tinto on Tuesday reported a 2.4% rise in fourth-quarter iron ore shipments, boosted by a return to pre-pandemic industrial activity in China, the company said on Tuesday. The world's second largest iron ore miner shipped 88.9 tonnes (mt) of the product in the three months to December 31, up from 86.8mt a year earlier.

It said it expects to ship between 325-340mtthis year, compared with the 331mt in 2020.

"In China, the industrial sector has recovered and is now at pre-COVID levels due to the rapid deployment of stimulus," Rio said in a statement.

"Iron ore prices rose significantly in the second half of 2020 on the back of tightened market fundamentals. China's buying remains robust despite ongoing localised impacts from COVID-19 in some regions. Demand in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Europe is recovering."

Copper output fell 9% to 527,900 tonnes due to lower grades at its US Kennecott mine in Utah and production phasing at the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia.

The company had earlier projected annual mined copper output of 475,000 - 520,000 tonnes, adding that it expected to produce between 500,000 - 550,000 tons in 2021.
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