Oil trading boosts Glencore’s 2020 expectations

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LONDON (Reuters) – Switzerland-based Glencore expects a stellar performance from its oil trading arm to help the division hit the top end of its full-year target for operating income, it said on Friday.

Glencore’s large marketing division makes the group more resilient than most mining companies during commodity downturns.

Trading divisions of oil majors such as Royal Dutch Shell, Total and Eni reported bumper profits by virtue of storing oil when prices plunged to sell it later at higher prices, profiting from what is known as a contango market structure.

The group’s trading arm is now expected to be at the top end of its $2.2 billion to $3.2 billion target for the full year.

“Our Marketing business has also risen to the challenge, delivering robust counter-cyclical earnings,” Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg said in a statement.

Glencore warned that its net debt, which is already the highest amongst its mining peers, would be higher in the first-half of the year.

Copper output fell 11% to 588,100 tonnes for the six months to June 30 while cobalt output was down 33% to 14,300 tonnes, owing to the closure of the Mutanda mine in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Glencore stuck to its full-year expectations for most commodities, including copper and cobalt, but said it expects to mine 14% less coal because of the continued closure of its Prodeco operation in Colombia.

The miner closed some operations in Chad, Peru, Colombia, South Africa and Canada, but most of its larger operations were unscathed by the coronavirus disruptions.

In Congo, Glencore said it was on track with the ramp-up of its Katanga copper and cobalt mine.

Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Editing by Jason Neely and David Goodman

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