Glencore bumps up copper forecast

Production of ___ copper, which is the base product used to make other copper products, in the Luvata plant in Johor, Malaysia, on Monday, May 13, 2013. Photographer: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg©Bloomberg

Glencore, the miner and commodity trader, has increased guidance for one of its most important raw materials — copper.

In a production update, the Swiss-based group lifted the midpoint of its 2016 copper production forecast by 20,000 tonnes to 1.41m tonnes. The increase reflected a strong performance from a number of mines, including Collahuasi in Chile, the company said.


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However, Glencore lowered its estimates for coal — another key commodity — by 5m tonnes to 125m because of lower output from mines in South Africa and weather-related reductions from assets in Colombia. It also adjusted production guidance for oil, a much smaller part of its business.

Glencore did not provide an update on the performance of its trading arm, or progress on its debt reduction plan in Thursday’s release. These will probably be given when the company announces half-year results later this month.

Analysts expect the company to have reduced its net debt to between $17bn-$18bn by the end of the year. Glencore has raised $3.7bn from disposals this year and a further $2bn to $3bn is expected from the disposal of a gold mine in Kazakhstan and a rail business in Australia.

Citi’s analysts said half-year numbers would provide more detail. “We believe second-quarter production and revised 2016 volume guidance are marginally net positive and could result in low single-digit per cent 2016 consensus earnings upgrades,” said Citi.

Shares in Glencore have doubled this year and are trading close to 200p. They have been supported by rising coal, zinc and thermal coal prices.

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