Coal not immune from Aussie shake-down

AUSTRALIAN coal stocks were hammered by overseas selling yesterday as currency prices fluctuate and concerns mount over China’s outlook and the Rudd government’s resources super-profits tax.
Coal not immune from Aussie shake-down Coal not immune from Aussie shake-down Coal not immune from Aussie shake-down Coal not immune from Aussie shake-down Coal not immune from Aussie shake-down


Blair Price

The Australian dollar’s drop against the US dollar had a carry trade effect yesterday that saw the ASX 200 down 1.6% to 4316.5 with local banks accounting for 37% of this plunge in the index.

The AUD closed down about 1.8% to fetch US83.18c, 10% lower than three weeks ago.

Chinese shares fell for their second day in a row amid growing fears that the China growth story will have a bad ending.

Other jitters include the German government’s move to ban naked short selling and suspected market intervention in the eurozone by the Swiss National Bank.

With the Rudd government’s resources tax already wiping off billions from Australia’s resources sector over the past weeks, the various events helped trigger another wave of selling on local coal stocks.

Whitehaven closed down 9.92% to $4.75, Macarthur sank 7.83% to $10.12, Caledon Resources fell 7.69% to 65c, Centennial lost 3.55% to $3.80, New Hope shed 3.3% to $4.40 and Cockatoo slipped 2.44% to 40c.

Providing evidence of the RSPT connection, New Zealand coking coal producer Pike River’s Australian Securities Exchange-listed shares gained 1.85% to 82c.

But even ASX-listed companies not planning to mine in the country suffered, with Canada-focused Coalspur closing down 7.5% to 64c while Coal of Africa shed 2.88% to $2.02 and fellow African player Riversdale Mining lost 3.06% to $8.56.

Given its lucrative exports to China, Industrea tanked 8.9% to 27c while mining and drilling services companies Macmahon and Boart Longyear sank 12% and 7.1% respectively.

The larger, diversified Australian coal miners held their ground more, with BHP Billiton losing only 0.6% and Rio Tinto down 1%.

Wesfarmers actually gained 0.35% to $28.55.

Trading is expected to be tough again today as selling continued in overseas markets.

The Dow Jones was down 3.6% overnight, the S&P 500 shed 3.9%, the NASDAQ slumped 4.11% and the Nikkei 225 lost 1.54%.

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