News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: China may further toughen restrictions on coal imports; Joyce failed to seek details on Shenhua coal mine, inquiry hears; and why BHP Billiton is being hit so hard.

Lou Caruana

China may further toughen restrictions on coal imports

Consultancy Wood Mackenzie believes Australia's struggling coal miners need to brace for several more years of low prices before the current glut in supply is absorbed, with the risk things get worse before they get better as China may impose even tougher import restrictions, according to the Australian Financial Review.

China this year has slapped stricter coal quality tests on thermal coal imports, leading to the rejection of some cargoes, including at least one from Australia. State-owned power producers on the coast have at the same time been forced to reduce imports of coal.

Joyce failed to seek details on Shenhua coal mine, inquiry hears

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has been accused of shedding “crocodile tears” over the approval of the giant Shenhua coal project planned for the Liverpool Plains, after department officials revealed he failed to seek detailed information or make any formal comments opposing the open-cut mine, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

At a Senate inquiry into a bill to give landholders the right to reject coal mining on their properties, officials from the departments of environment and agriculture said they were unaware of comments from Joyce or his department to the mine's federal approval process.

Why BHP Billiton is being hit so hard

Analysts say diversified exposure could mean BHP Billiton will be one of the earlier stocks to pick up when commodity prices recover, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The recent slide in commodity prices has hit BHP Billiton particularly hard as investors reassess if its shares are overvalued, but an attractive dividend yield may limit further downside.

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