At the same time last year and on a comparable asset base, the business made a net profit of $2.2 billion.
The expected dividend was a sign of confidence in the future, the group said, forecasting bigger-than-expected economies of scale.
Publishing its first results since the merger, the new group took a charge of $7.6 billion to write down goodwill, meaning intangible assets which have a lower book value than the market value when they changed hands.
The group, based in the canton of Zug, said that the write-down reflected the poor outlook for the mining industry and increased risks for big expansion projects and for the development of new sites.
One side benefit of the write-downs is that the company will pay no income taxes for the first half of the year and will receive a tax credit of $163 million, Tages Anzeiger reported.
Glencore Xtrata's revenues rose on a comparable basis by four percent to $112 billion.
However, on a pro forma or nominal basis, sales fell by two percent to $121 billion.
Managing director Ivan Glasenberg said that the first half of the year had been a period of transformation for the group which had made excellent progress in integrating the activities of the two component parts.
And he said that the benefits and economies of the merger would be much greater than the initial forecast of $500 million per year.
The group said that it expected to pay an interim dividend of $0.054 per share.
It said that this was a sign of its confidence in its prospects and in the strength and flexibility of its balance sheet.
Analyst Mike McCudden at online brokerage Interactive Investor was not convinced.
"The huge write-down of Xstrata's assets amidst a tough market, while they seek some stability in the board, is doing nothing to instill any confidence from investors," he told AFP.
"Glencore still has a lot of work to do in integrating Xstrata, and after a run of disappointments recently, today's attempts to reassure investors will do little to stop them heading for the exits," he added.
Ute Haibach, an analyst with J. Safra Sarasin, meanwhile said that while observers had expected to see write-downs, the ones announced "look high at the first glance."
Glencore Xstrata is listed on the London Stock Exchange, where its shares were down 2.77 percent in midday trading at 293.60 pence, having opened at 297.00 pence.
The group's stock had closed at 301.95 pence .
The share began life at about 331.15 pence on , and has since fallen by about 11.3 percent.
The long-awaited merger between Swiss commodities trader Glencore and mining giant Xstrata, which is also based in the Alpine country, came on .
The new group took the stage alongside leading global commodities companies such as BHP Billiton, Vale and Rio Tinto.