Glencore lowers 2019 production forecasts for copper to oil

Glencore’s suspended Mutanda copper and cobalt mine. (Image courtesy of Glencore.)

Glencore Plc cut its full-year copper-output goal by about 3% and lowered production targets for other commodities from nickel to oil, as the world’s biggest metal trader deals with multiple problems across its operations. The shares fell.

There was no mention of changes to the company’s marketing-profits guidance, which it often updates in production reports.

Key insights

Glencore’s disappointing output results add to a growing list of headaches.

The company announced last week that the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission is investigating it for possible corrupt practices, adding to an existing Department of Justice probe.

The copper goal was lowered after safety and smelter outages at the Mopani operation in Zambia and a range of mine-plan updates at other operations. There were also setbacks at Glencore’s Katanga Mining Ltd. unit, which produces copper and cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The company said it will miss full-year output targets for both metals and won’t give new guidance until it completes a business review in the third quarter.

Katanga halted sales of cobalt in November last year after detecting radiation and said that a plant to remove the contamination would be ready this year. It said earlier this month it had started some sales again.

Market reaction

Glencore fell 2.8% to 303.95 pence, taking the stock to the lowest since mid-March. “The production results are very weak, albeit in what tends to be a seasonally challenged period for Glencore,” RBC Capital Markets said. The bank said the cuts are equivalent to $430 million in sales at spot commodity prices. “The outlook for copper in particular appears at risk and we may need to reduce this further to reflect risks at Katanga,” BMO Capital Markets said.

(By Thomas Biesheuvel)

1941 0

More Europe News