Ratings agency’s have got it in for the mining sector where all companies are struggling with low commodity prices and many have to cope with high debt loads.
Within the last few weeks Moody’s Investor Services cut the ratings of seven large miners. Two majors – Anglo American and Freeport McMoRan – were cut to below investment grade for the first time.
Moody’s took Freeport McMoRan down a full four pegs while the besieged Anglo slipped three rungs. Fitch Ratings also cut Anglo to junk this week adding that the outlook for the UK-listed firm is negative.
Moody’s recently said stress on companies in the industry “could surpass what it saw during the 2008/2009 period,” adding that the current downturn is like no other and “a wholesale recalibration of ratings is required.”
Out of a total 85, 55 companies are under review at Moody’s. Of these 60% already don’t make the investment grade and 14 are hovering not far above junk status.
These include some big names like Newmont, Vale, Kazatomprom, Grupo Mexico, Fresnillo, Barrick Gold and Goldcorp.
Things are beginning to look up for precious metals miners, but others on the list below may find it difficult to avoid the dreaded junk status.