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Mining Stocks Are Taking a Beating


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Glencore Plc and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. led a global slump in mining shares on concern China’s devaluation of the yuan will sap demand for commodities.

Glencore, the mining and commodities company led by billionaire Ivan Glasenberg, tumbled as much as 11 percent to a record low in Hong Kong Wednesday, while iron ore exporter Fortescue fell as much as 9.1 percent and closed down 8 percent in Sydney. BHP Billiton Ltd. slid as much as 5 percent in Sydney and closed 4.3 percent lower.

China’s central bank cut the value of the yuan for a second day as policy makers stepped up efforts to support exporters and boost the role of market pricing in Asia’s largest economy. The yuan headed for its biggest two-day drop in 21 years on Wednesday after the People’s Bank of China’s reference rate was lowered to the weakest level since 2012.

“We expect Chinese commodity demand to decline in the short term as the devaluation makes Chinese imports more expensive, and increase in the long term, if the devaluation succeeds in stimulating Chinese exports and the economy,” RBC Capital Markets said in an Aug. 11 note to clients after the first cut.

The devaluation raises the risk that exports from China will increase, adding more metal to markets that are already oversupplied. A weaker yuan may also make imports for Chinese businesses more expensive and cut demand for raw materials in the world’s biggest consumer of commodities.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]

“China may export more semi-finished product, which should put pressure on commodity prices, hurting guys like Glencore,” John Meyer, a mining analyst at SP Angel Corporate Finance LLP, said by phone from London.
London Metals

Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. fell as much as 4.1 percent in Tokyo, while Freeport-McMoRan Inc., which said on Monday it planned to sell as much as $1 billion in shares, plunged 12 percent Tuesday in New York.

All six main metals on the London Metal Exchange fell, as nickel touched the lowest price since 2008 and copper fell as much as 1.2 percent. The Bloomberg World Mining Index of 79 producers tumbled 2 percent.

While China’s decision was creating “short-term fluctuations,” the longer-term outlook for copper remains promising, according to OZ Minerals Ltd., an Australian producer that fell 5.1 percent in Sydney trading on Wednesday.

“Copper is not connected to any one country, it’s not connected to any one industry,” OZ Minerals Chief Executive Officer Andrew Cole said Wednesday on a conference call with reporters.(Bloomberg)

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