Inflation hits Canadian metals, mining stocks, erasing 2022 gains

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Canadian mining, metals and lumber stocks dropped Wednesday, wiping out their 27% gain for this year as hotter-than-expected inflation, rising interest rates and slowing global growth weigh on the companies.

The S&P/TSX Composite Materials Index is now negative for the year after peaking in mid-April, when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent prices for commodities and natural resources soaring. Since then, the Bank of Canada has implemented its biggest interest rate increase in decades with a half-a-percentage-point hike on April 13, preceding a similar move by the US Federal Reserve.

Canada’s precious metals miners, lumber stocks and base metals have dropped sharply, led by Iamgold Corp.’s 46% slump since that central bank decision. Other miners are following closely behind, including First Majestic Silver Corp., down 43%, Hudbay Minerals falling 40% and Ero Copper Corp. dropping 39%.

“Rates are rising and it’s going to hit all cyclical industries,” Stifel Canada managing director and portfolio strategist James Hodgins said, with higher interest rates hitting lumber stocks as homebuilding and the real-estate sectors slow. He expects copper miners to fall as well amid recession concerns.

“This is a bit of an unprecedented cycle,” Hodgins said, adding that in recent down cycles, central banks haven’t had to worry about inflation as they stepped in to lower rates. Now, with inflation surging at its fastest pace since 1983 in Canada, the bank has signaled rates will continue to rise.

(By Geoffrey Morgan)

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