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Rio Tinto rises as China demand fuels iron ore shipments

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— Shares of Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX:) rose on Tuesday after the Anglo-Australian iron ore miner logged stronger quarterly shipments on steady demand from China and as it ramped up production at its Gudai-Darri mine in Pilbara.

Rio’s Australian shares rose 2.4% to A$118.510 by 21:04 ET (01:04 GMT), helping the broader index rise 0.6%. Rio’s peer BHP Group Ltd (ASX:) also rose 1%, given that it also has heavy iron ore exposure to China.

Rio Tinto, the world’s biggest iron ore producer, saw shipments from its key Pilbara operations rise 1% to 83.9 million tonnes in the three months to September 30. The figure was aided by a mix of steady Chinese demand, as well as increased production at the Gudai-Darri mine in Pilbara, which began operations in early-2022 and is touted as Rio Tinto’s “most technologically advanced” mine. 

The miner also logged stronger prices for its iron ore shipments, as some stimulus measures in China helped fuel increased demand for the steel-making material. Rio Tinto maintained its full-year expectations for iron ore shipments at the upper half of a 320 million to 335 million range provided earlier this year. 

China is by far the world’s largest importer of iron ore, and Rio Tinto’s biggest market. A decline in economic activity in the Asian giant had weighed on Rio’s margins over the past year, with the miner warning that sustained weakness in the country could spur further weakness in its margins over the coming months.

But the Chinese government rolled out a string of monetary stimulus measures this year, aimed chiefly at supporting sluggish economic growth. Third-quarter data from the country, which is due later this week, is expected to shed more light on the effects of these measures.

Rio Tinto’s mined shipments also rose 5% in the third quarter to 169,000 tonnes, aided by some improvement in Chinese demand, as well as increased production in its Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia and Chile’s Escondida mine. 

 

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