ASX coal stocks feeling the heat after climate protesters' Port of Newcastle blockade

The big ASX coal stocks are trading lower on Monday morning.

| More on:
woman holds sign saying 'we need change' at climate change protest

Image source: Getty Images

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Investors in ASX coal stocks appear wary after climate protesters' floating blockade of the Port of Newcastle over the weekend.

Here's how these top three coal shares are tracking in early trading on Monday morning:

  • Whitehaven Coal Ltd (ASX: WHC) shares are down 0.41%
  • Yancoal Australia Ltd (ASX: YAL) shares are down 0.4%
  • New Hope Corp Ltd (ASX: NHC) shares are down 0.56%

For some context, the All Ordinaries Index (ASX: XAO) is up 0.13% at this same time.

So, what the heck has been happening in Newcastle?

ASX coal stocks unfazed by climate protests

Hundreds of kayakers, and at least one person on an inflatable unicorn, shuttered operations at the Port of Newcastle over the weekend.

The world's largest coal port ships some 150 million tonnes of coal annually and serves as a vital export hub for ASX coal stocks.

Climate activists had been granted permission for a 30-hour protest. With support from the Greens, they're demanding an end to new coal projects in Australia. And in what would come as a blow for shareholders in ASX coal stocks, they'd like the federal government to impose hefty new taxes on export profits.

When the 30-hour window expired yesterday, more than 100 protesters remained in the floating blockade. They were eventually arrested without incident.

Greens leader Adam Bandt lauded the blockaders.

"They're fighting to stop more floods and bushfires in this country," he said (quoted by The Australian Financial Review).

"In the middle of the climate crisis, Labor is making the problem worse by opening more coal and gas mines," he added.

New South Wales Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee had a decidedly different take. He noted that exports from the Port of Newcastle represent less than 2% of the world's annual coal consumption.

According to Galilee:

Disrupting coal exports through the Port of Newcastle will have no impact on global coal demand or supply. However, it will potentially cause significant damage to New South Wales.

Coal is a major contributor to the New South Wales economy. Coal exports represent New South Wales most valuable exports by far and are worth more than $70 billion nationally.

How have these coal miners performed longer-term?

After delivering some stellar gains in 2022 amid soaring coal prices, all three ASX coal stocks are in the red for 2023.

Year to date the Yancoal share price is down 13%, the New Hope share price is down 7%, and the Whitehaven share price is down 17%.

Long-term shareholders are still well in the green, however. Over the past five years, the Yancoal share price is up 40%, the New Hope share price is up 61%, and the Whitehaven share price is up 71%.

Motley Fool contributor Bernd Struben has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

More on Energy Shares

A smiling woman with a cute dog flings her arm out of the window of a car
Dividend Investing

On the hunt for passive income? Here's what you need to know about the record Ampol dividend

Following today’s record declaration, Ampol shares trade on a juicy 7.2% dividend yield.

Read more »

a man sits on a rocket propelled office chair and flies high above a city
Earnings Results

ASX 200 energy stock Ampol charging higher on record 2023 sales

ASX 200 investors are bidding up the Ampol share price on Monday.

Read more »

two workers in hard hats and high visibility gear give celebratory fist pumps while checking paperwork at a processing site with equipment in the background.
Energy Shares

2 'low risk plays' amid surging ASX uranium shares

Fund manager Monash Investors recommends two particular ASX uranium stocks.

Read more »

an oil refinery worker checks her laptop computer in front of a backdrop of oil refinery infrastructure. The woman has a serious look on her face.
Energy Shares

Woodside share price dips to two-month low upon late news announcement

The oil and gas giant has revealed a major impairment cost for FY23.

Read more »

Coal Miner in the tunnels pushing a cart with tools
Earnings Results

Whitehaven share price crumbles on plunging half-year revenue

ASX 200 investors are bidding down the Whitehaven share price on Thursday.

Read more »

Happy man standing in front of an oil rig.
Energy Shares

How are Woodside shares avoiding the market selloff today?

This energy giant's shares aren't sinking like the market today. But why?

Read more »

A miner stands in front oh an excavator at a mine site
Energy Shares

3 things to love about ASX uranium shares right now

This expert reckons uranium shares have further to climb.

Read more »

Worker inspecting oil and gas pipeline.
Energy Shares

The Middle East, OPEC and the US: What can ASX 200 energy investors expect from the oil price in 2024?

Oil and gas prices remain volatile as investors gauge the outlook for 2024.

Read more »