Iron ore gains boost miners' outlook

Local miners' profit forecasts seen rising on lower Aust dollar, higher prices.

The combination of a 25% gain in iron ore prices since June and the decline of the Australian dollar is boosting the outlook for several miners, including BHP Billiton (BHP), Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue Metals Group (FMG).

The Australian Financial Review reported that analysts are predicting widespread upgrades of profit forecasts as a result of the improving outlook for iron ore miners.

Iron ore prices rose to $US138.70 a tonne on Tuesday, 25% above the commodity's 2013 low of $US110 a tonne in June, and only 12% below its one-year high of $US158.90 a tonne touched in February.

“With iron ore and the Australian dollar looking more favourable for producers, we would expect consensus earnings upgrades to add further support to the producers,” Royal Bank of Canada analyst Chris Drew told the AFR.

Mr Drew predicted that if current conditions extend through the December half, earnings per share forecasts could jump by 51% for Fortescue, 24% for Rio and 119% for Atlas Iron (AGO), the AFR added.