The bailing out of the much-watched ‘Credit equals Gold #1’ wealth management product and safe liquidity-strewn (CNY375 billion from the PBOC) survival of the lunar new year liquidity crunch has many believing the worst is over. Though we discussed this fallacy in great depth here, the following chart of the total collapse in the largest Chinese coal producers says this is far from over. Trading at or below book values, investors are clearly signaling concerns about the quality of assets summed up perfectly by one local analyst – China’s coal industry (whose loans back a massive amount of the wealth management products) is “dead.”
Shares of China’s biggest listed coal producers have dropped to their lowest valuations on record as falling fuel prices make it harder to repay debt.
Bloomberg’s chart above tracks the price-to-book ratio of China Shenhua Energy Co., China Coal Energy Co. and Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. Both China Coal and Yanzhou Coal trade below the value of their net assets, while Shenhua Energy has fallen to about 1 times book. The lower panel shows the CSI 300 Index’s energy gauge traded at a record discount to the MSCI All-Country World Energy Index last month.
Slowing economic growth and efforts to boost use of alternative fuels have dragged down coal prices in China, the world’s biggest producer and consumer of the fuel. The nation’s banking regulator ordered its regional offices to increase scrutiny of credit risks in the coal-mining industry, two people with knowledge of the matter said last month, signaling government concern about possible defaults.
China’s coal industry is “dead,” said Laban Yu, a Jefferies Group LLC analyst in Hong Kong with an underperform rating on all three stocks. “There are 10,000 producers in China. A lot of them are taking on debt. It gets harder and harder to service debts when coal prices keep falling.”
China Coal warned Jan. 24 that 2013 net income will probably drop as much as 65 percent from a year earlier. The second-largest producer had 50 billion yuan ($8.3 billion) of net debt at the end of last year, from net cash of 6 billion yuan in 2011, according to a Barclays Plc note last month. The stock has tumbled 82 percent from its 2008 peak.
Declines in Shenhua, the listed unit of China’s No. 1 coal producer, have erased $178 billion of market value since the stock peaked in 2007 — equivalent to the value of Bank of America Corp. Yanzhou Coal, the fourth largest, has dropped 80 percent from its 2011 high.
So, in summary, the PBOC had to bailout a ‘small’ wealth management product due to fears of contagion, which merely amplifies the future problems, and investors are pricing coal companies (which back a vast amount of shadow bank facilities) for major problems ahead… and the PBC had to pump CNY 375 billion in last week just to prop up the banks through the new year…
But apart from that – yeah, China’s credit crisis must be over because US equities are up for 3 days…