(Reuters) – BHP Group Ltd on Thursday posted higher quarterly iron ore shipments that edged past expectations and said China was set to be a stabilizing force for commodities demand this year as developed nations face economic headwinds.
The world’s largest listed miner said iron ore production from Western Australia on a 100% basis was 74.3 million tonnes (mt) for the three months ended December, up 1% from 73.9 mt a year earlier and beating a Goldman Sachs consensus of 71.9 mt.
“China’s pro-growth policies, including in the property sector, and an easing of COVID-19 restrictions are expected to support progressive improvement from the difficult economic conditions of the first half,” BHP said.
The mining giant reaffirmed its fiscal 2023 forecast for Western Australia iron ore output on 100% basis at between 278 mt and 290 mt.
On Tuesday, rival Rio Tinto said that China’s reopening from COVID-19 restrictions is set to raise near-term risks of labour and supply-chain shortages. It also flagged a strong start to iron ore shipments for 2023.
(Reporting by Harish Sridharan and Himanshi Akhand in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Devika Syamnath)