Vale's Q3 profits expected to dive 61% on depressed ore prices

Brazilian mining giant Vale (NYSE:VALE) is expected to log a year-on-year Q3 profit decline of 61% due to this year's precipitous dive in iron ore prices.

Reuters reports
that the consensus expectation amongst analysts is for net income to fall to USD$1.92 billion for the quarter ended September 30, compared to $4.93 billion for the same period last year, notching up the company's worst quarterly profits in 33 months.

Vale's earnings have been hit especially hard by the sharp drop in iron ore prices this year, resulting from China's easing economic growth and the resulting weak demand for the key steel-making ingredient. Iron ore accounts for 90% of Vale's profits, and the company is responsible for over a quarter of global sea-borne iron ore exports.

Seeking Alpha reports that Vale's iron ore production fell by 2.2% for the first nine months of the year to 234.5 million metric tonnes, while the output of diversified mining peers and chief competitors Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) leapt by 4.5% and 9.5% respectively.

Weak nickel prices and the company's decision to put aside $540 million for the potential payment of back royalties in Brazil are also significant contributors to severely weakened profits.