TOKYO, Aug 3 (Reuters) – Japanese trading house Sumitomo Corp 8053.T said on Wednesday its net profit for the April-June quarter rose 45% to a record thanks to higher prices of commodities such as coal and nickel as well as strong demand for steel products in North America.
Net profit for the three months climbed to a record 155.2 billion yen ($1.2 billion) from 107.3 billion yen a year earlier, but the company stuck to its annual profit forecast of 370 billion yen.
“Earnings from both resource and non-resource businesses have been stronger than anticipated earlier,” Sumitomo Chief Financial Officer Reiji Morooka told a news conference, adding that it may raise its profit guidance.
“On the other hand, the risk of a global economic slowdown and other uncertainties are increasing, and we will closely examine full-year forecasts going forward,” he said.
Sumitomo expects nickel production at its Ambatovy project in Madagascar to achieve its initial target of about 40,000 tonnes this financial year to March 31, after producing about 8,000 tonnes in the first quarter.
Increased oil and gas drilling activities in North America have also supported its steel pipe business in the April-June quarter and the company sees robust demand in pipes continuing through next March, Morooka said.
Asked whether Sumitomo expects any change in its business strategy in China amid rising tensions between China and Taiwan as well as China and the United States following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, Morooka said no change is planned.
“It has become a major issue for us to think of how to deal with the heightened geopolitical risks triggered by not only the U.S.-China issue but also the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” Morooka said.
“We will pay close attention to the (U.S.-China) situation with high interest,” he said.
($1 = 132.8200 yen)
(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Stephen Coates)
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