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Barrick Gold Profit Plunges 90% On Lower Precious Metal Prices, Currency Hit

If there was ever any doubt that gold prices are low — the metal is not yet $1,000 an ounce but is more than 12% off its year-ago price and heading lower in response to new economic data — the first quarter earnings results from Canadian gold mining company Barrick Gold ABX -2.06% revealed Wednesday just how depressed precious metal prices are. Barrick’s profit dropped 90% compared to the year-ago period, a plunge the miner attributed to lower production volume and, yes, the cost of gold. And unfortunately for Barrick, those prices aren’t getting any higher, at least in Wednesday trading: gold futures and gold’s spot prices dropped into the red after the Federal Reserve expressed confidence in the U.S. economy and cut back its monthly bond-buying purchases by another $10 billion.

Barrick reported Wednesday that it garnered $2.6 billion in first quarter revenue, a figure that met Street estimates but marks a 22.5% decline over the $3.4 billion reported as revenue for the same time in 2013. Excluding special items, net income came in at $238 million, or 20 cents per share, down from $923 million, or 92 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Including special charges, like a $113 million foreign currency loss, Barrick’s first quarter profit came in at $88 million, down from $847 million in the year-ago quarter and resulting in earnings of 8 cents per share — a whopping 90% decline from the 85 cents per share reported the same time in 2013.

The company attributed the sharp decline to lower metal production and lower metal prices, but went on to say that it is attempting to stanch its spending and is on track to achieve its targeted $500 million in annual savings by the end of 2014.

“Barrick is a considerably different company today than it was a year ago – leaner, stronger and more financially flexible. Our first quarter all-in sustaining costs of $833 per ounce, $100 per ounce below the prior year quarter, demonstrate that our efforts to reduce costs are delivering tangible results,” Jamie Sokalsky, Barrick president and CEO, said in a statement Wednesday, adding that his company is “decisively” addressing its under-performing operations as well as optimizing other aspects of its business. “It’s clear that Barrick’s optimized portfolio continues to deliver solid results, and we are pursuing a number of opportunities in Nevada to unlock further value from our high quality asset base.”

The Indian Agriculture Industry

The Indian Agriculture Industry is on the brink of a revolution that will modernize the entire food chain, as the total food production in India is likely to double in the next ten years.

As per recent studies the turnover of the total food market is approximately Rs.250000 crores (US $ 69.4 billion) out of which value-added food products comprise Rs.80000 crores (US $ 22.2 billion). The Government of India has also approved proposals for joint ventures, foreign collaborations,

industrial licenses and 100% export oriented units envisaging an investment of Rs.19100 crores (US $ 4.80 billion) out of which foreign investment is over Rs. 9100 crores (US $ 18.2 Billion). The agricultural food industry also assumes significance owing to India's sizable agrarian economy, which accounts for over 35% of GDP and employs around 65 per cent of the population. Both in terms of foreign investment and number of joint- ventures / foreign collaborations, the consumer food segment has the top priority. The other attractive features of the indian agro industry that have the capacity to lure foreigners with promising benefits are the deep sea fishing, aqua culture, milk and milk products, meat and poultry segments.

Excellent export prospects, competitive pricing of agricultural products and standards that are internationally comparable has created trade opportunities in the agro industry. This further has enabled the Indian Agriculture Industry Portal to serve as a means by which every exporter and importer of India and abroad, can fulfill their requirements and avail the benefits of agro related buy sell trade leads and other business opportunities.

Metal Market

18 December 2006 – World crude steel production for the 62 countries reporting to the International Iron and Steel Institute was 104.2 million metric tons (mmt) in November. This is 10.3% higher than for the same month of 2005.

Asia is still the largest steel producing area with total production of 589.2 mmt for the first eleven months of the year. This is 12.5% higher than for the corresponding period of 2005. In November, China produced 38.0 mmt of crude steel, an increase of 24.1% compared to the same month last year.

Crude steel production in India was 3.8 mmt, an increase of 10.1% year-on-year (y-o-y). South Korea produced 4.1 mmt in November, a rise of 0.7%. Japan produced 10.0 mmt of crude steel, 9.5% higher than a year earlier. Production in the EU was 16.3 mmt in November. This is 5.9% higher than for the same month last year. Germany produced 3.9 mmt of crude steel in November, an increase of 9.2% year-on-year (y-o-y). Italy produced 2.8 mmt, up 8.2% y-o-y. Crude steel production declined in both France (-1.1%) and the United Kingdom (-7.1%). Crude steel production in North America is estimated at 10.2 mmt in November. This is 2.2% lower than the same month last year. Brazil produced 2.7 mmt of crude steel in November, an increase of 2.6% y-o-y. Total South American crude steel production was 3.9 mmt in November, an increase of 1.8% y-o-y.