Rio Tinto Could Unwrap Iron-Ore Surprise in Quarterly Report

Rio Tinto had a tough 1Q with an early downgrade to annual shipment guidance from its Pilbara operations due to cyclone damage, but UBS thinks it could unwrap a surprise in its production report on April 17. For most Australian miners of bulk commodities like iron ore, the March quarter is seasonally weak because it coincides with the wet season across the north of the country. “While Rio was impacted and downgraded guidance it may surprise many to know that iron-ore exports were up year-over-year for the quarter,” UBS says. It expects Rio Tinto’s iron-ore shipments will total 74.4 million tons in 1Q for an annualized run rate of 297.6 million tons. That’s a touch below Rio Tinto’s revised annual shipment guidance of 324 million-334 million tons. UBS also expects Rio Tinto’s titanium production to be impacted by social unrest and Covid-19 restrictions.