Nov 21, 2016 11:47:51

Coal Mining: Take Profit

  • Indonesia's coal stocks are expected to be negatively affected by coal price reversal after China's government stepped up its efforts to cool coal price given the stronger correlation between coal price and stock price recently. Downgrade coal sector to Underweight. Downgrade all coal stocks to Sell.
  • Downgrade coal sector to Underweight, sell all coal stocks. We downgrade our recommendation on coal sector to Underweight (from Neutral) as we see risk of coal price reversal after China's government stepped up its efforts to ease steep increase in coal price. Newcastle coal price index has declined to US$105/ton from the peak of US114/ton with coal contract for January delivery concluded at US$94.5/ton FOB on globalCOAL (vs FY17/18F of US$70/US$69/ton of our forecast). We downgrade our recommendation to Sell on ADRO (Sell, Rp1,200TP), PTBA(Sell, Rp9,500TP), ITMG(Sell, Rp12,250TP), and HRUM (Sell, Rp1,600TP). ADRO, PTBA, ITMG, and HRUM are trading at FY17F PE of 12x/12x/10x/13x.
  • China has intensified efforts to cool down coal price by 1) extending the time period for the supply relaxation policy for selective big coal miners to increase production to an equivalent of 330 days' output from 276 days restriction policy, 2) urging more long-term contracts between major coal miners with major power plants, and 3) raising transaction fee for thermal coal futures for same-day trading to curb short-term speculative trading. In addition to that, one of the largest coal producers recently indicated that it will stop selling coal to buyers without annual long-term contracts to further prevent speculative activity in the coal market.
  • Correlations between coal price and stock price are the highest since 2014. While we expect stronger earnings outlook next year driven by higher coal price, we believe that stock price direction will be determined by the volatility on coal prices due to strong correlations between coal price and stock price recently. We take a look at the 3-month correlations of  coal stocks to coal price since 2014. Based on this, the current correlation levels are the highest, standing at 56% for ADRO, 50% for ITMG, 57% for PTBA, and a whopping 66% for HRUM. This makes Indonesia's coal stocks very vulnerable to coal price reversal given the steep increase in the past few months. Note that Indonesia’s coal stock has increased by an average of +284%YTD vs. the index of +11%YTD.
  • Expect stronger earnings outlook in 2017 for Indonesia coal miners, mainly driven by higher ASP. Our discussion with large coal miners indicates moderate production growth next year to maintain high coal price and avoid oversupply in the market. In terms of coal price, we believe at US$70-75/ton coal price is already a good number for coal miners as it's already >30% higher than the avg. of US$55/ton in 1H16. However, we also expect production cost will increase due to higher stripping ratio and contractors’ fee (lower discount fee). Our sensitivity analysis indicates that every 1% increase in coal price will increase ITMG's and HRUM's earnings by 4.8% and 4.0% respectively vs. ADRO's and PTBA's of 3.3% and 2.8%.
  • Key risk to our call is if coal price can sustain at >US$100/ton due to weather related issue.