Commodities giant Glencore said Tuesday its net profit slipped 8.0 percent in the first half of this year to $2.27 (1.8 billion euros) although sales rose by 17 percent to $108 billion. The company said increased volumes helped compensate for the drop in commodities prices due to dampened global growth outlook and an aggravation in the eurozone debt crisis hitting sentiment. \"Against the backdrop of this challenging economic environment, which saw most commodity prices down over 15% period-on-period, we are pleased to report that Glencore has continued to deliver a healthy financial performance,\" chief executive Ivan Glasenberg said in the earnings statement. However he added: \"Looking forward, we neither anticipate nor assume any material improvement in overall market or economic conditions in the near term.\" Glencore announced in February plans to merge with Swiss mining firm Xstrata, creating a $90 billion powerhouse in the commodities industry. Shareholders meetings to approve the merger have been delayed by disagreement over the terms.