Fortescue Metals Second-Quarter Iron Ore Shipments Climb 32%

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., Australia’s third-largest iron-ore producer, said second-quarter shipments rose 32 percent, lagging estimates.

Shipments were 19.1 million metric tons in the three months to Dec. 31, compared with 14.4 million tons a year earlier, the Perth-based company said today in a statement. Fortescue missed a median forecast of 19.5 million tons from four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Fortescue, which raised $5 billion in new loans four months ago, said last month it would restart an expansion to 155 million tons annually after prices rose, driven by demand from China. It slashed spending, sold assets and cut jobs in September after prices fell to a three-year low of $86.70 a ton.

“Fortescue expects market conditions in China will continue to stabilize in the near term,” the company said today in the statement. “Steel mills are readjusting their raw material stocks to maintain more sustainable stock levels.”

The shares were trading 0.5 percent lower at A$4.635 at 12:42 p.m. in Sydney trading, while the benchmark index gained 0.1 percent. Iron ore traded at $145.90 a ton on Jan. 22.

Iron ore prices have rebounded after China, the biggest buyer, announced stimulus spending on bridges, roads and subways.

Growth in China is forecast to accelerate to grow 8.1 percent this year, up from 7.9 percent during 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The recovery has extended to manufacturing activity, which has expanded for three consecutive months, the Purchasing Managers’ Index shows.

The company had cash on hand of $2 billion as of Dec. 31, it said in today’s statement.

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