Brokers upgrade Aussie coal stocks

GOLDMAN Sachs JBWere has upped its coal price forecasts for next year while other brokers have lifted expectations for Australian coal stocks, including Macarthur Coal, Gloucester Coal, Whitehaven Coal and Centennial Coal.

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According to Dow Jones Newswires, Goldman has lifted its hard coking coal price forecast for next year by $US20 to $140 per tonne, while it expects thermal coal prices to hit $80/t and pulverised coal injection coal to reach $100/t.

The news service has reported a number of broker upgrades this month, with Macarthur now getting a buy rating from both Goldman and UBS.

UBS also reportedly placed a buy rating on Gloucester, which has a smaller volume of publicly traded shares since commodities trader Noble Group lifted its stake in the company to 87.8% in a $A7 per share off-market cash takeover.

The news service revealed the latest share price expectations from brokers, with Morgan Stanley lifting Centennial to $3.16 and Whitehaven to $3.08, while UBS set its targets for the two companies to $2.90 and $4 respectively.

While the reasons behind the upgrades vary, all the brokers see some improvement in Asian economic conditions.

Macquarie has also forecast premium hard coking coal to reach $US140/t next year in benchmark contracts.

Macarthur shares are down A8c this morning $6.44 this morning, Gloucester shares have climbed 16c to $4.99, Whitehaven shares have slid 3c to $2.98 and Centennial shares have gained 3c to $2.17.