Rio Tinto reported a near 34% drop in first-half underlying earnings and slashed its interim dividend on Wednesday, as easing iron ore prices offset an uptick in shipments from Pilbara operations.
Iron ore accounts for 70% of Rio Tinto’s profits and its prices could improve going forward as Beijing has pledged to roll out more policies to boost growth after the world’s second-largest economy struggled with an uneven recovery in the first half.
Average realised prices for Pilbara iron ore slipped to $98.6 per wet metric tonne (wmt) in the first half, 11.1% below last year. That offset a 7% rise in shipments of the steel-making ingredient from Pilbara to 161.7 million tonnes.
The world’s largest iron ore producer reported underlying earnings of $5.7 billion for the six months ended June 30, lower than last year’s $8.63 billion and a consensus of $5.85 billion, according to Visible Alpha.
The Anglo-Australian miner declared an interim dividend of $1.77 per share, below last year’s $2.67 apiece.