Vale falls victim of the iron ore slump, posts $3.2bn loss

Vale falls victim of the iron ore slump, posts $3.2bn loss

Vale is in the midst of building its huge new S11D iron ore mine in the Amazon, which is an extension of its giant Carajás complex and the largest project in the company’s history.

Brazil's Vale (NYSE:VALE), the world's No. 1 iron ore producer, posted Thursday its lowest earnings in six years and the third straight quarterly loss, as it faces falling prices of the commodity and shrinking Chinese demand.

The Rio de Janeiro-based miner logged a net loss of $3.2 billion in the first quarter, compared with a net profit of $2.4 billion in the same period last year.

It also reported that first-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, dropped 61% to $1.6 billion from a year earlier, the lowest since the second quarter of 2009.

New mine carved out of Brazil's forest

Vale is in the midst of building its huge new S11D iron ore mine in the Amazon, which is an extension of its giant Carajás complex and the largest project in the company’s history. Total investments in the first quarter were $2.2 billion.

“Weak market fundamentals continued to undermine prices, with soft demand from Chinese steel mills and strong seaborne supply, “the company said in a statement. “We expect some improvements in the Chinese steel demand as the property sector responds” to current government easing measures and possible new action.

The results came only a day after reports of the company being in talks with Chinese shipbuilders to increase its fleet of mega ships, the world's biggest bulk ore carriers, known as “Valemaxes.”

Concerns about oversupply continue to dog the market. The Big Three iron ore miners – Vale (NYSE:VALE), Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) and BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) – announced production numbers last week showing output growth continuing to climb.