SYDNEY, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Global giant Rio Tinto Ltd has lowered its iron ore shipping guidance by 5 million tons following a fall in third quarter shipping.
Shipping rates fell 5 percent on the corresponding period in 2015, down 2 percent on the previous quarter due to shipping interruptions at its Australian assets, the world's second largest iron ore miner said in its third quarter production update on Thursday.
"Shipments were reduced by port and rail maintenance during the quarter and annual shipment guidance is revised to between 325 million and 330 million tons for 2016," Rio said. Another 20 million tons is expected from its Canadian assets.
The fall in shipping will impact Rio's earnings -- majority is derived from Australian operations -- but it's very minor, CMC Markets chief market analyst Ric Spooner told Xinhua.
Production however remained strong with the company hitting guidance with a new quarterly production record set in the third quarter, up 8 percent in the first three quarters of 2016 compared to the corresponding period last year, reflecting productivity improvements and continued ramp-up of mines across their Australian operations.
"With a continued focus on value, we will seek to further productivity improvements across the business," Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sebastian Jacques said in a statement.
The company said 2017 production guidance remains unchanged at 330 million to 340 million tons of the steel making material, subject to final productivity and capital expenditure plans.
Rival BHP Billiton Ltd on Wednesday however reaffirmed their full-year guidance, though wanted supply was still outstripping demand in its key iron ore business despite seeing a recovery in prices.
Spot iron ore held firm at 58 U.S. dollars per ton overnight after eight sessions of gains, which analysts put to a fall in shipping from Australia and iron ore giant Brazil.
Rio's shares opened marginally higher on Thursday, up 0.30 percent to 50.89 Australian dollars (39.31 U.S. dollars).
"(Rio's) made a lot of their key strategic changes, and we're just in the implementation stage of it, and materially they're on track," Spooner said.
"I'd say (there's) nothing really in this report to cause any change to investors outlook."