ArcelorMittal trims losses as steel demand rebounds

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PARIS, Nov 5 — Steel giant ArcelorMittal said today it cut its net loss in half during the third quarter as demand rose with major economies exiting coronavirus lockdowns.

The net loss of US$261 million (RM1.1 billion) was also half of the net loss posted in the July to September period of 2019.

On an operating basis, however, the firm bounced back into profit of US$718 million from an operating loss of US$253 in the second quarter, when many major economies shut many businesses, dampening demand for steel.

But many countries then eased those measures during the third quarter, leading to a rebound in demand for steel in many sectors, in particular the auto industry.

ArcelorMittal said sales hit US$13.3 billion, which was nearly a 21 per cent jump from the second quarter, but were still a fifth below the level of last year.

That beat the analyst consensus of US$12.8 billion compiled by Bloomberg.

“The third quarter marked an improved operating performance for the Group with steel markets recovering gradually from the very challenging second quarter after the ending of lockdowns,” CEO Lakshmi Mittal said in a statement.

But he added that “the recent rise in Covid-19 cases worldwide makes it prudent to remain cautious about the outlook and we should be prepared for further volatility.”

The company’s shares were down 2.6 per cent in afternoon trading on the Amsterdam stock exchange, where the main index was up 1.2 per cent. — AFP

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