The majority of ASX-listed copper stocks have lost ground in the past five weeks as President Trump’s escalating trade tiff with China starts to impact the copper price.

Copper is now down 16 per cent from its June peak and is now trading at about $US6180 ($8333) per tonne.

Analysts blame the emerging trade war and the rising US dollar for the tumbling copper price.

About 60 per cent of the 80 or so ASX stocks with exposure to copper have suffered declines of up to 35 per cent (see table below).

>> Scroll down for a list of ASX stocks with copper exposure

President Trump has expanded a list of goods imported from China that he wants to slap an extra 10 per cent tax on.

On that list is a bunch of copper products, along with other commodities – including zinc, which has also been hard hit with a 19.5 per cent price plunge.

The price of copper has fallen 16 per cent since early June.
The price of copper has fallen 16 per cent since early June.

Investment bank UBS says commodities will come under pressure from concerns over global growth.

“Tariffs increase the cost of trade,” analyst Glyn Lawcock said in a recent research note.

“This in turn lowers trade volumes, related industrial production and commodity demand, hence commodity prices.”

Explorers hit harder than producers

Here’s a list of ASX stocks with exposure to copper:

Scroll or swipe for full table. Click headings to sort

ASX code Company One-year change Change since Jun 8 Price Jul 13 (intraday) Market Cap
KRC KING RIVER COPPER 16.1428571429 0.463414634146 0.12 142.4M
RIE RIEDEL RES 4.45454545455 -0.130434782609 0.06 25.1M
VRX VENTNOR RES (suspended) 3.78571428571 0 0.067 16.8M
TNO TANDO RES (*listed Nov 2017; adjusted for split) 3.3023255814 -0.244897959184 0.185 30.8M
ODM ODIN METALS 2.7037037037 -0.0909090909091 0.2 30.7M
TAR TARUGA MINERALS 2.63636363636 0.0526315789474 0.2 26.6M
AIS AERIS RES 2.625 -0.0333333333333 0.145 40.6M
GWR GWR GROUP 1.97619047619 -0.264705882353 0.125 31.6M
ARE ARGONAUT RES 1.85714285714 -0.047619047619 0.02 29.5M
BPL BROKEN HILL PROS 1.625 -0.269565217391 0.084 12.4M
PAN PANORAMIC RES 1.60663507109 -0.12 0.55 270.4M
PEX PEEL MINING 1.51351351351 -0.237704918033 0.465 82.8M
STM SUNSTONE METALS 1.46666666667 -0.119047619048 0.037 43.4M
WKT WALKABOUT RES 1.45283018868 -0.161290322581 0.13 37.6M
NML NAVARRE MINERALS 1.23529411765 0.0555555555556 0.076 20.6M
LSR LODESTAR MINERAL 1.2 -0.214285714286 0.022 15.2M
SVY STAVELY MINERALS 1.14814814815 -0.0491803278689 0.29 46.5M
RXM REX MINERALS 1.11538461538 -0.352941176471 0.11 26.6M
HGM HIGH GRADE METALS 0.95652173913 -0.210526315789 0.045 11.7M
SCI SILVER CITY MINE 0.894736842105 -0.0769230769231 0.036 8.6M
AQD AUSQUEST 0.875 -0.166666666667 0.03 16.8M
HIG HIGHLANDS PAC 0.825396825397 -0.206896551724 0.115 122.9M
THR THOR MINING 0.823529411765 -0.225 0.031 19M
ORN ORION MINERALS 0.727272727273 -0.136363636364 0.038 56.3M
AUQ ALARA RES 0.714285714286 -0.172413793103 0.024 15.1M
IGO INDEPENDENCE GRP 0.584905660377 -0.0579439252336 5.04 2.9B
SFR SANDFIRE RES 0.565254237288 -0.0380208333333 9.235 1.4B
SGQ ST GEORGE MINING 0.5 -0.0322580645161 0.15 41.7M
AL8 ALDERAN RES 0.354166666667 0.238095238095 0.65 76.3M
BHP BHP BILLITON 0.343018563358 -0.0234741784038 33.28 170.3B
FND FINDERS RES 0.323529411765 0.0227272727273 0.225 177.5M
NZC NZURI COPPER 0.305555555556 -0.06 0.235 68.3M
CZI CASSINI RES 0.254545454545 0.0454545454545 0.069 19.1M
AUC AUSGOLD 0.25 0.0714285714286 0.03 19.7M
HCH HOT CHILI 0.217391304348 -0.176470588235 0.028 20.1M
RIO RIO TINTO 0.212511429442 -0.0745027335117 79.565 127.4B
OZL OZ MINERALS 0.176774193548 -0.139622641509 9.12 2.9B
TLM TALISMAN MINING 0.166666666667 0.0769230769231 0.28 50.1M
SUM SUMATRA COP 0.166666666667 -0.222222222222 0.014 53.1M
KGL KGL RES 0.153846153846 -0.108108108108 0.33 80.2M
TMX TERRAIN MINERALS 0.142857142857 0.333333333333 0.008 4.5M
PNN PEPINNINI LITHIUM 0.0526315789474 -0.047619047619 0.02 10.5M
AUR AURIS MINERALS 0.05 -0.20253164557 0.063 25.7M
GPR GEOPACIFIC RES 0.0357142857143 -0.147058823529 0.029 58.3M
CVV CARAVEL MINERALS 0 0 0.06 7.2M
RVR RED RIVER RES -0.00869565217391 -0.27619047619 0.228 107.8M
RDM RED METAL -0.0384615384615 0.0869565217391 0.125 26.3M
CDU CUDECO (suspended) -0.06 0 0.235 92.7M
HGO HILLGROVE RES -0.0617283950617 -0.164835164835 0.076 43.9M
AVQ AXIOM MINING -0.0666666666667 -0.0967741935484 0.14 56.5M
FEL FE -0.0769230769231 -0.04 0.024 9.6M
MLX METALS X -0.0810810810811 -0.180722891566 0.68 419.3M
SRI SIPA RES -0.0833333333333 0.1 0.011 13.2M
CSE COPPER STRIKE -0.0909090909091 -0.0697674418605 0.2 21.4M
MEP MINOTAUR EXP -0.116666666667 -0.19696969697 0.053 13.6M
MGV MUSGRAVE MINERAL -0.139240506329 -0.0810810810811 0.068 22.9M
XAM XANADU MINES -0.157894736842 -0.219512195122 0.16 103.7M
BOA BOADICEA RES -0.166666666667 0.176470588235 0.1 5.3M
HAV HAVILAH RES -0.166666666667 0.111111111111 0.25 53.5M
MOD MOD RES -0.168081494058 0.0652173913043 0.49 111.1M
BBX BBX MINERALS -0.190476190476 -0.105263157895 0.17 67.4M
PNX PNX METALS -0.2 -0.111111111111 0.008 8.7M
HNR HANNANS -0.222222222222 0 0.014 29.7M
RCP REDBANK COPPER -0.225 0.107142857143 0.031 3.6M
FNT FRONTIER RES -0.227272727273 0.416666666667 0.017 8.3M
SUH SOUTHERN HEMI -0.25 0 0.06 5.1M
AIV ACTIVEX -0.277777777778 -0.133333333333 0.13 23.0M
SVM SOVEREIGN METALS -0.283333333333 -0.180952380952 0.086 24.9M
BOC BOUGAINVILLE COP -0.3 0.105263157895 0.21 84.2M
RTG RTG MINING -0.3 -0.0454545454545 0.105 52.7M
RLC REEDY LAGOON -0.315789473684 0.181818181818 0.013 5.2M
KLH KALIA -0.333333333333 0 0.008 17.6M
BYH BRYAH RES (*listed (Oct 2017) -0.35 0.0833333333333 0.13 7.6M
ARD ARGENT MINERALS -0.354838709677 -0.259259259259 0.02 9.3M
CZN CORAZON MINING -0.357142857143 -0.1 0.009 10.1M
ELT ELEMENTOS -0.375 -0.166666666667 0.005 8.0M
AZY ANTIPA MINERALS -0.375 0.153846153846 0.015 23.5M
BUX BUXTON RES -0.411764705882 0.111111111111 0.15 17.2M
GTE GREAT WESTERN -0.4375 -0.25 0.009 8.3M
AMG AUSMEX MINING -0.457142857143 0.027027027027 0.038 15.4M
HDY HARDEY RES -0.5 0.25 0.005 5.4M
IVR INVESTIGATOR RES -0.5 0 0.013 8.1M
SMD SYNDICATED METAL -0.533333333333 0 0.007 4.4M
COY COPPERMOLY -0.6 -0.272727272727 0.008 11.0M
CRB CARBINE RES -0.602564102564 0.0689655172414 0.031 6.2M
TAS TASMAN RES -0.74 -0.118644067797 0.052 23.6M

 

Since the copper price started heading south from June 8, Rex Minerals (ASX:RXM), which now has a market cap of roughly $26.6 million, has lost the most ground, dropping 35 per cent to 11c on Friday.

However, over the past 12 months the junior explorer is up 111.5 per cent.

The $107.8 million Red River Resources (ASX:RVR) has tumbled 27.6 per cent to trade just below 23c. Coppermoly (ASX:COY) also dipped around 27 per cent to 0.8c and is down 60 per cent over the past 12 months, giving it a market value of $11 million.

By comparison, the producers don’t seem to be falling as far.

Pure-play copper producer Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR) has only dipped 3.8 per cent to $9.24, giving it a market cap of $1.4 billion.

The more diversified heavyweights like BHP (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) have slipped just 2.3 per cent and 7.5 per cent, respectively.

Meanwhile, more junior producer Finders Resources (ASX:FND) – which was recently taken over in a hostile bid – has added 2.3 per cent to trade at 22.5c since the copper price started sliding.

Other players that have fared much better, perhaps because of their diversification strategy, are King River Copper (ASX:KRC) and Hardey Resources (ASX:HDY).

Despite its name, King River Copper is actually more focused on vanadium in Western Australia at the moment.

And Hardey has also just leapt into vanadium with plans to buy a past operating mine in Argentina.

Chin up, it might not be so bad

The situation is perhaps a little less dire for Australian copper players than their not-so-lucky American counterparts.

Australian stocks are being shielded somewhat from the full force of the burgeoning trade war with the sliding Aussie dollar against the greenback.

“The fall in the Aussie dollar against the US dollar has actually cushioned some of that blow,” Fat Prophets analyst David Lennox told Stockhead.

“So if you’re an Australian copper producer and you convert your US copper price into Australian dollars, obviously the lower it goes the more Aussie dollars you get for your copper.”

However, Mr Lennox does not see this being a short-term problem.

“We have no idea once these tariffs are in place if they will ever be lifted, so we are probably looking at a long-term adjustment being made to the flow of goods and services and with that the demand for commodities,” he explained.

The tariffs could be implemented as early as by the end of September.

Full blown battle unlikely

Tao Wang, China economist for UBS, expects the Asian heavyweight to “strongly protest the new US trade actions, but not respond proportionally, partly because China imports only about $150 billion from the US”.

While the situation is escalating, UBS does not see it becoming an “all-out trade war”.

Meanwhile, President Trump’s new tariffs on steel and aluminium exported from European Union countries to the US have prompted the EU to implement its own tariffs on US-manufactured goods.

This has forced motorcycle giant Harley Davidson to shift the production of its motorcycles for EU countries out of the US.

The company said the tariffs had increased to 31 per cent from 6 per cent, which would mean each motorcycle made for export to the EU would cost an extra $US2200.

“Now if we see that occurring and companies are shifting production away from the tariff source then we’re not going to see any significant change,” Mr Lennox noted.

“But if we see a shift and a decline in consumption – people aren’t buying as much because they are now dearer – then that’s going to be a significant headwind for commodities.”