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Antofagasta reports lower first-half earnings, trade clouds demand outlook

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LONDON (Reuters) – Chilean copper producer Antofagasta <ANTO.L> said first half core earnings fell 16.2 percent versus a year earlier, citing weaker ore quality and higher costs, and adding that trade tensions clouded the broader market outlook.

Antofagasta, however, maintained full-year guidance for its own output of 705,000-to-740,000 tonnes as it will mine higher grade ore and has restored production at its Los Pelambres operation following a pipeline blockage.

The company’s statement cited “considerable market uncertainty with the outcome of current international trade negotiations unclear,” although it said the longer term prospects for copper were favourable.

Copper prices have fallen around 15 percent this year, dragged lower by tension between the United States and China over trade and doubts about demand from China, the world’s biggest commodity consumer.

(Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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