Glencore-Xstrata base metal output dips

Commodities trader Glencore and Xstrata, in the final stages of a £56bn mega-merger, this morning posted a drop in combined output across key metals including copper.

The two companies’ combined production figures, released by Glencore this morning, show a nine per cent annual drop in copper output in 2012, and a one per cent fall in zinc production over the year. Nickel output from its own feed was up three per cent, while total gold output fell eight per cent.

Glencore didn’t provide any details of its trading activities, which is a key driver of its earnings.

Separately, Xstrata, the world's fourth-largest copper miner, said that mined production of the red metal hit 747,000 tonnes in 2012. That was in line with market forecasts but down 16 per cent on 2011 as the company replaces ageing operations such as the Ernest Henry open pit in Australia and moves to new projects and expansions.

Glencore is still waiting for regulatory approval from China for its merger with Xstrata, but the deal is expected to officially complete next month.