Whitehaven shares down on price prediction

Shares in Whitehaven Coal have dropped by almost two per cent after the company said it expects metallurgical coal prices to fall in the first quarter of 2014.


The NSW miner expects the price of coal used in steel making to fall to around $101 a tonne in the March quarter, due to reduced demand from Asian steelmakers.

But the market for thermal coal, used in power generation, remains relatively well supplied, with pricing to be guided by negotiations set to begin in February and March, the company said.

“Recent metallurgical coal price settlements by the large coal miners saw a reduction in the price for all metallurgical coal types for the first quarter of 2014,” Whitehaven said in a statement.

Prices are then expected to remain flat before increasing in 2015.

The company achieved a significant lift in sales and production in the three months to December 31.

Whitehaven sold 3.16 million tonnes of coal in the period, up 52 per cent on the same quarter in 2012.

Sales were boosted by a 44 per cent rise in production to 2.86 million tonnes, mostly from its Narrabri Mine, where production soared 81 per cent.

The company achieved an average price of $103 a tonne for its metallurgical coal and $82 a tonne for thermal coal during the quarter.

Whitehaven said the introduction of a flat tax on all coal imports into South Korea should favour its higher quality coal imports against lower quality rivals.

Meanwhile, work on the company’s Werris Creek mine expansion was completed in December, while construction work had begun on the construction of rail facilities to its Maules Creek project.

Whitehaven shares fell 3.5 cents, or 1.9 per cent, to $1.845.

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