Freeport Misses profitability Estimates Due to Falling Copper Prices

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX) recently posted its released profit figures last week, which show lower figures than expected per estimates. This comes as the price for copper drops amid coronavirus lockdowns in China as well as widespread fears of a global recession.

Freeport, which is said to be the largest publicly traded miner of copper globally, reported a net income of $840 million for the second quarter of this year. This is equal to about 57 cents per share and represents a drop from the almost $1 billion recorded in the same period last year.

Refinitiv data also shows that the company earned 58 cents per share, which is lower than the 61 cents per share that analysts estimated. Additionally, its revenue dropped by almost 6% to reach $5.4 billion. This figure is lower than the expected revenue of $6.1 billion.

Freeport CEO Richard Adkerson stated that it was evident how quickly the market sentiment for copper had shifted during this year’s second quarter, with the unexpected decline in the price of copper occurring despite what he saw as resilient demand for the metal. Strong demand is usually seen as a key indicator of economic health.

During the April-to-June quarter this year, the benchmark price of copper dropped by about 20%, which made this the sector’s largest quarterly decline in more than a decade. This in turn sparked worries about the economic health of the industry. On a conference call with investors, Adkerson stated that the current market was tight, noting that there hadn’t been a considerable impact in the physical demand for the red metal.

Before reversing course, the company’s stock had declined by more than 2% on Thursday morning. By midday trading, it had fallen by roughly 0.7%.

Freeport reported its average realized price of copper at $4.03/pound, which is a drop from 2021’s average realized copper price of $4.34/pound. The Phoenix, Arizona-based company noted that it believed its balance sheet was strong enough to overcome the economic storm, adding that it didn’t need to raise any capital.

Adkerson observed that this wasn’t the company’s first rodeo, arguing that Freeport had dealt with similar situations before and had a playbook showing how the situation could be handled. He also noted that the current copper prices weren’t sufficient enough to support new mines, which it expects would worsen the already tight supply of copper globally.

Figures show that in the second quarter of this year, the production of copper increased by more than 17% to reach 1.08 billion pounds.

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