China's devaluation of Yuan hits miners, commodities
China’s decision to devalue the Yuan shook global markets Tuesday, hitting especially hard the already weak stocks of global mining companies as well as most commodities, except gold and silver.
The world's largest consumer of metals adjusted the value of its currency down following a run of poor economic data. The move, say experts, is supposed to help exporters, which increases the risk of more metals flowing into markets already oversupplied.
Glencore (LON:GLEN) led the slump in the sector, dropping by almost 8% to hit a record low mid-afternoon London. Shares in world’s No. 1 miner, BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP), were down 4.6%, while rival Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) was close to shedding 3% of its stock value.
Another big loser was Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX), which dropped 13.7% barely a day after it announced plans to sell about $1 billion in shares.
All six main metals on the London Metal Exchange fell over 2%, with copper hitting its lowest level since July 2009 at $5,109 a tonne. Zinc also touched bottom, the lowest in two years, and aluminum dropped to a six-year low at $1,573.50 a tonne.
Gold prices turned higher Tuesday, reversing a drop in Asian markets that came after China's surprise decision. The precious metal was trading at $1,109 per tonne at 13:25 pm ET.
Gold for December delivery scaled an intraday high of $1,119.10 and a low of $1,093.30 an ounce. Meanwhile, Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, moved slightly higher to 667.69 tons on Tuesday from its previous close of 667.59 tons on Monday.
Markets didn’t remain immune. The S&P 500 fell 1.0% in morning trade, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.2%. The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index was down 1.5% late afternoon in Europe.