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How Copper Miners Stacked Up in the First Half


Sep. 4 2018, Published 11:00 a.m. ET

Copper miners in the first half

The second-quarter earnings season is over, and most copper miners, including Southern Copper (SCCO), Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), and First Quantum Minerals (FM), have released their quarterly financial performance results.

This being the half-yearly earnings season, diversified miners Rio Tinto (RIO) and BHP Billiton (BHP) have also released their financial performance results. These companies release production reports every quarter but only release their financial results every half year.

In this series, we’ll do a comparative analysis of leading copper miners’ second-quarter and first-half operating and financial performances. Before that, though, let’s take a brief look at the copper markets.

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Copper markets

Although copper has bounced back above the level of $6,000 per metric ton, market sentiments have been subdued. Soft economic data from China, including retail sales, fixed-asset investment, and car sales, point toward slowing demand in the country. On the supply side, copper supply has surprised on the upside this year despite a flurry of labor contracts.

While the bulls had been expecting labor-related incidents to lead to a supply deficit this year, labor negotiations have been surprisingly smooth. To make matters worse, the looming US-China trade war has made investors bearish on metals given China’s dominant share in metal demand.

In terms of copper miners’ second-quarter performances, production and shipments are key indicators investors should track. In the next article, we’ll do a comparative analysis of copper miners’ shipments.


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