UPDATE 1-Rio Tinto CEO a non-believer in commodities rebound

Thu May 5, 2016 1:16am EDT
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* Rio yet to see light in commodities markets

* CEO Walsh says forecasting a recovery "brave call"

* Rio not actively on M&A trail (Recasts, adds comments from CEO Walsh, other details)

By James Regan and Sonali Paul

SYDNEY/MELBOURNE, May 5 (Reuters) - Mining giant Rio Tinto is not counting on an upturn in commodities markets anytime soon despite recent gains in prices of iron ore, its main source of revenue, as much of the world's economies continue to underperform.

Chief Executive Sam Walsh said factors such as the looming U.S. election, a softer outlook in China and immigration woes facing Europe were suppressing a recovery in commodities. His view, however, is a departure from others calling for an end soon to the commodities rout that has sent just about every major mining company into the red.

"I believe in that environment, calling the bottom is a brave move," Chief Executive Sam Walsh told reporters.

Walsh, who will be replaced by Jean-Sebastien Jacques as CEO in early July, also doused speculation that Rio Tinto was coiled to pounce on assets put on the block by rivals suffering more from the downturn. "There are just simply not assets that we might be interested in," he said on Thursday.

The 143-year-old company has typically avoided the oil business and has also made it clear its days of expanding in iron ore are coming to a close.   Continued...