Today Im looking at the investment potential of two battered commodity giants.
Zinc star on the wane
Another day, another disastrous session on global markets as the fear factor continues to rise. Panic over the state of the Chinese economy, not to mention the effect of monetary tightening in the US, continues to send stock prices and commodity prices through the floor, and there appears to be no immediate end in sight.
With a worsening demand outlook exacerbated by surging production levels across many commodity segments, Im becoming increasingly bearish on the investment potential on mining and energy giants such as Vedanta Resources (LSE: VED).
Zinc prices, a market from which the company sources half of total earnings, remain in proximity tothe six-year nadirs around $1,470 per tonne struck just a couple of weeks ago. And a cooling property market in China threatens to send metal values still lower, while fears over auto demand (not to mention sales of white goods) could also send zinc values toppling again.
And elsewhere a backdrop of sinking oil, copper and aluminium prices, which are also key markets for Vedanta, threatens to keep the bottom line on the back foot.
The company saw earnings slip 39% between April and September to $1.3bn, a result that forced Vedanta into binning the interim dividend. And I dont expect the London-based business to crank its payout back into policy any time soon as further losses appear in the offing.
The ongoing rout across commodity markets hasnt prevented silver and gold producer Fresnillo (LSE: FRES) from collapsing to fresh multi-month lows despite releasing perky production numbers. The Mexico-focussed miner was recently 4% lower from Tuesdays close.
Fresnillo announced on Wednesday that full-year output clocked in at 47m ounces in 2015, up 4.4% from the prior year and hitting the upper end of its guidance range. This was thanks in no small part to a 10.2% output leap between October and December from the previous quarter, driven by improved ore grades and higher throughput at its Saucito asset.
On top of this, gold production of 762,000 ounces last year smashed previous targets of between 715,000 and 730,000 ounces, and was above 2018s target of 750,000 ounces.
Fresnillo expects to hike metal production still further, with silver output anticipated to reach between 49m and 51m ounces this year before steaming to 65m ounces by 2018. And gold output is expected to reach between 775,000 and 790,000 ounces in 2016.
Although a steady stream of safe-haven buying has kept precious metals afloat in recent weeks, I believe that metal values could be poised to sink sooner rather than later as the impact of a surging US dollar weighs.
With the Fed likely to continue hiking interest rates in 2016 and potentially beyond, and the likelihood of further poor economic data casting a pall over silver demand looking ahead, I believe Fresnillo could see earnings continue to tank.
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