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UPDATE 1-Canadian gold miner Goldcorp profit beats market forecast

(Adds analyst forecast, operating results, forecasts)

Feb 15 (Reuters) - Goldcorp Inc reported a higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday compared to a steep loss a year ago, as much lower costs at its gold mines in the Americas and a higher gold price offset lower production.

Goldcorp, the world's third-biggest gold producer by market value, reported net earnings of $101 million, or 12 cents a share, in the three months ended December. That compared with a loss of $4.3 billion, or $5.14 per share, a year earlier when the Canadian miner wrote down the value of a mine in Argentina.

Analysts on average had expected the company to earn 9 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Vancouver-based Goldcorp said its all-in sustaining costs to produce an ounce of gold fell to $747 in the fourth quarter from $977 an ounce a year ago. For all of 2016, costs slid to $856 an ounce from $894 in 2015.

The miner pre-released production figures on Jan. 16, when it said it produced 2.87 million ounces of gold in 2016, including 761,000 ounces in the fourth quarter. That was down from 909,000 ounces in the same quarter in 2015. Gold miners also benefited from a 10 percent rise in bullion prices in the fourth quarter to an average of around $1,216 an ounce compared with same quarter last year.

This year Goldcorp expected to produce 2.5 million ounces of gold at all-in sustaining costs of around $850 an ounce. It also laid out an ambitious growth plan that includes increasing production as well as reserves by 20 percent over the next five years. (Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Bernard Orr and Andrew Hay)

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