Jiangxi Copper Q1 profits dip 3.1% year-on-year on lower prices

Jiangxi Copper Co, one of China's biggest copper producers, said on Monday its profits fell by 3.1 percent year-on-year in the first quarter as lower prices for the metal dented earnings.

The Nanchang-based company's net income was 742.35 million yuan ($110.25 million) in the January to March period, according to a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange. That was down from 765.96 million yuan in the first quarter of 2018 but up from 402 million yuan in the fourth quarter.

First-quarter revenue fell 3.5 percent from a year earlier to 48.86 billion yuan.

Benchmark three-month copper prices on the London Metal Exchange rose by 8.7 percent in the first three months of this year as mine disruptions left the market fearing shortages. But they were still lower than in the first quarter of 2018 on average, weighed down by concerns the ongoing U.S.-China trade row will hurt demand for metals.

Jiangxi Copper Chairman Long Ziping told Reuters on Friday he was not worried about tight copper concentrate supply, however, as mine production was already increasing.

He said he remained "optimistic" on copper prices, currently at around $6,400 a tonne, which he thinks will "oscillate upwards" in the second quarter.

Long also said last week that Jiangxi Copper planned to build a plant in the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah that would process scrap copper into refined copper.

Jiangxi Copper, an integrated producer owning both mines and smelters, plans to raise production of copper cathodes by 1.4 percent this year to 1.44 million tonnes.

($1 = 6.7332 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(By Tom Daly; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)