Rio Tinto to Cut Capital Spending to $8B by 2015; Copper Cash Price Up Again

Rio Tinto is slashing its numbers again. The company “plans to halve capital spending to $8 billion by 2015 from last year’s level to cut debt, in the latest move by a major miner to slash outlays as commodities prices remain fragile,” reports Reuters.

“The cuts are sharper than some investors had expected and deeper than those made by Rio Tinto’s major rivals. They show the Anglo-Australian firm is going all out to boost flagging shareholder returns and protect its credit rating amid a slower growth outlook for China, its biggest customer.”

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“Just last week Rio Tinto said it would delay the expansion of its iron ore operations in Australia to 2017 but save $3 billion in the process. The company is also in the midst of selling a clutch of coal, copper and other non-core assets.”

“The world’s second-biggest iron ore miner said on Tuesday it will cut capital spending to $11 billion in 2014 from just under $14 billion this year, and sees capital spending at $8 billion in 2015, which would be less than half what it was in 2012.”

The cash price of primary copper rose 0.6 percent on Monday, December 2, making it the day’s biggest mover. After two days of falling prices on the LME, it closed at $7,026 per metric ton. Also on the LME, the 3-month price of copper rose 0.5 percent to $7,029 per metric ton.

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The cash price of primary Japanese copper finished the market day up 0.3 percent per metric ton. The price of US copper producer grade 122 showed little movement yesterday. The price of US copper producer grade 102 saw little change in its price yesterday. The price of US copper producer grade 110 held steady yesterday.

Chinese copper prices were mixed for the day. The price of Chinese copper wire increased 0.4 percent. Chinese copper bar saw its price rise 0.1 percent. After a 0.1 percent increase, the cash price of Chinese copper finished the day. The price of Chinese bright copper scrap remained essentially flat.

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