Email of the day (3)
Comment of the Day

October 07 2011

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day (3)

on copper shares and Australian shale gas plays:
"Greetings from a warm spring day in Perth. Your insight on the audio about consensus view on copper brings to mind whether csg stocks are now a good contrarian investment.

"Could you please add Dart Energy to the library? There seems to be a view in media that Australia will not replicate the success of shale gas in USA, possibly only Beach Energy so far involved. Would appreciate if you could look for any commonality down under in your next review.

"Yes on the two pints of cider index OZ is now more expensive than UK!"

Eoin Treacy's view Thank you for this email which is sure to be of interest to other subscribers. I've added Dart Energy to the Chart Library. I'm looking forward to sitting in the sun and enjoying a few glasses of excellent Australian white on my next trip down under, probably in 2013.

Earlier this year the consensus view was that the copper market was in deficit and that prices were bound to go higher. However from July that perception changed as fears of a meltdown in the Europe, political intransigence in the USA and an economic collapse in China took centre stage. Neither extreme is likely to have been accurate.

Comex traded copper prices fell from $4.50 in February to $3 this week. Most of the decline occurred in the last three weeks and copper is oversold by just about any measure one chooses to use. A relief rally appears to be underway. Over the medium-term, copper prices will have to sustain a move above $4 to repair the technical damage already sustained, but in the meantime, prices can rally significantly as the oversold condition is at least partially unwound. It is impossible to say at this stage whether the market is forming a short or medium-term bottom. However the risk is currently skewed in favour of an additional relief rally.

Copper shares such as Southern Copper, Grupo Mexico, Antofagasta, Freeport-McMoRan, Kazakhmys, Ivanhoe Mines, Hudbay Minerals, Baja Mining, KGMH Polska, Jiangxi Copper, Boliden and Vedanta have all been in downtrends since early this year. They have all accelerated lower and found at least short-term support this week. Additional potential exists for a further relief rally in line with the copper price.

Australia's OZ Minerals pulled back from over A$15 to less than A$10. It posted a weekly upside key reversal this week, signalling that at least someone thinks the current area is an attractive entry point. A sustained move below this week's low near A$8.70 would be required to check current scope for an additional relief rally.

To the best of my knowledge most of the unconventional gas exploration in Australia has focused on coal bed methane. Dart Energy is no exception. I do not know enough about Australia's geology to comment on the potential for shale gas production but this article from tomorrow's Sydney Morning Herald exemplifies the opposition to such development among the carbon focused commentariat.

Beach Energy broke out of a two year base in April, formed a first step mostly above it, in the region of A$1, until early September and has since sustained the break above that level. A sustained move below A$1 would now be required to question current scope for additional upside.

BG Group is among the largest participants in Australia's gas industry. It has pulled back to test the psychological 1200p area and rallied well this week. A sustained move below 1100p would be required to question potential for some additional upside.

Origin Energy, Santos and Eastern Star Gas have been largely rangebound for much of the last three years but appear to have found at least short-term support and are rallying.

Senex Energy continues to consolidate mostly above A40¢. A sustained move below that level would be required to check potential for additional higher to lateral ranging.

Woodside Petroleum fell from A$50 to A$30 since April but found support last week near the 2008 low and rallied impressively this week. A countermanding downward dynamic would now be required to check current scope for some additional upside.

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