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TOKYO, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Japanese trading house Sumitomo Corp more than halved its net profit forecast for the year ending March 31 as slumping metal prices forced it to book about 170 billion yen ($1.5 billion) in writedowns on resource assets, it said on Friday.
It now predicts an annual net profit of 100 billion yen, down from its earlier estimate of 230 billion yen.
Last month, Sumitomo said it would take a writedown of 77 billion yen on its Ambatovy nickel mine in Madagascar as prices at 12-year lows wreak havoc among miners.
The Tokyo-based company booked impairment losses of 111.6 billion yen for the April-December period, including losses on its stake in iron ore assets in South Africa and a copper mine in Chile.
It also said it could post more writedowns in the January-March quarter, possibly on its stake in a coal mine in Australia, iron ore asset in Brazil and steel pipe business in North America.
Like international oil majors and mining companies, Japan's trading companies have been caught flat-footed by the rout in commodities. ($1 = 116.6800 yen) (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi)