‘Not yet at the summit? – an overview of the mining sector’
· Since publication of S&P Capital IQ’s mining report, general economic uncertainty and stock market sell-off has plunged already low sector valuations back towards their 2008 lows. Why is the market discounting a sharp drop in earnings for a sector that consensus estimates are expecting record earnings from?
· China remains a key influence on the sector and is responsible for as much as 60% of the global consumption of some commodities (e.g. iron ore). Which commodities are most exposed to Chinese demand and is this demand sustainable?
· Market prices for almost all commodities have risen significantly over the last 5 years, in some cases more than 5 times. Has this been biased towards certain commodities (e.g. early cycle) and are current prices sustainable?
· Recent half yearly results highlighted a number of industry challenges especially cost inflation and growing resource nationalism. The latter especially is raising the spectre of mining rights being revoked, nationalism and higher sector taxation. Which countries present the most risk and how is the industry responding to this threat?
Strong cash generation since the 2009 economic crisis has replenished sector balance sheets such that the industry is currently embarking on a circa USD200bn capex binge. What are the potential implications from this and what are the chances of most projects being delivered on time?
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