[SINGAPORE] Noble Group, Asia's largest commodity trader, tumbled to its lowest since 2008 as mining companies suffer through their worst start to a year in almost a decade.
The stock slumped as much as 12 per cent, before closing 9.2 per cent lower at 34.5 Singapore cents. About 126 million shares changed hands.
"The share price volatility may persist, given the more muted outlook for the global commodities market," Carey Wong, an analyst at OCBC Investment Research, wrote in a note to clients on Thursday. He cut his 12-month price target for Noble to 44 Singapore cents from 54 Singapore cents and kept his hold rating.
The Bloomberg World Mining Index has fallen 6.3 per cent since Dec 31, the biggest such drop since 2007, as investors are shunning metals from zinc to nickel amid even more bad news for the economy in China.
Noble lost almost two-thirds of its value in 2015, making it the worst performer on the benchmark Straits Times index last year, after attacks on its finances by critics including the anonymous Iceberg Research and short- seller Muddy Waters. Noble has rejected the claims.
The latest blow was the cut in its credit rating to junk by Moody's Investors Service on concerns over its liquidity.