Global growth concerns hit PNG stocks

ONGOING uncertainty over Greece’s debt crisis and a massive drop in US stocks that has been blamed on a trading error has hit the majority of companies operating in Papua New Guinea.

Commodity prices have also suffered with US oil falling below $US80 a barrel while nickel and copper both sank. However, gold climbed as investors fled to the usual safe havens.

"The oil market is being hit by a double whammy," Prestige Economics energy consultant Jason Schenker told Bloomberg.

"The rise in the dollar is pummelling crude. Also, there are global growth concerns which have increased because of the credit downgrades in Europe and the Greek debt crisis."

Energy Security Analysis senior analyst Chris Barber said oil traders were looking at the same data that was moving the stock market adding there was a fear of another slowdown in economic activity.

Singapore's Tapis fell under $US90/bbl to settle at $US86.47/bbl.

Base metals plunged on the London Metal Exchange during the week with nickel leading the charge lower.

Nickel for three-month delivery slumped 16% from last Friday's close to $22,050 per tonne overnight.

Copper plunged 6.5% to close at $6948/t last night while zinc fell 7.5% to $2114/t overnight.

The news from analysts remains bleak with base metals tipped to head even lower, especially copper, a senior metals trader at a European bank in Singapore told Dow Jones Newswires.

"As far as copper goes, if it settles below $6800, it could go to $6000," he said.

"The Chinese warehouses are full. The perception in the market is that the demand just isn't there."

However, other analysts are more optimistic with Commodity Broking Services managing director Jonathan Barrett telling Dow Jones that the reaction to overnight losses on Wall Street, which has seen base metals dip further in today's trade, could be overdone.

"People are factoring-in a disaster scenario," he said. "If that contagion fear [of Greece fiscal crisis spreading to other European countries] is real, why did European markets only fall 1 per cent to 1.5 per cent?"

Barrett also told the newswire the error in Wall Street trading should be ignored.

"It's an error, that's all," he added.

Meanwhile, gold has gained ground during the week as investors sought refuge in the precious metal.

The spot price for the precious metal surged overnight, hitting $US1210.80 an ounce at one point, but has dipped back to $1199.65/oz in today's trade.

Australian stocks were hit as the shockwaves of the federal government's proposed resources super-profit tax continued to be felt.

Most Australian Securities Exchange-listed companies on's watchlist saw their shares sinking far into the red despite having operations that would be unaffected by the RSPT.

Oil Search escaped most of the scrutiny, shedding just 2c over the week while Lihir Gold actually made a small gain after it accepted Newcrest Mining's latest acquisition offer, saying it was a good deal for its shareholders.


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