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WA Index

Issue 224 | March 2024

Welcome to the 224th edition of the Deloitte WA Index, a monthly review of Western Australian stocks and indices


The aggregate market capitalisation of Western Australian listed companies declined by 1.3% during the month of February to close at $372.1 billion. The WA Index cooled due to its strong correlation to the commodities market, with mild northern hemisphere winters and weakened Chinese demand dominating the month.

Conversely the tracked indices rallied, led by a 7.9% growth by the Nikkei and the S&P 500 registering a rise of 5.2%. Both indices reached highs driven by strong demand for technologies and chip-gear producers such as Nvidia, Meta and Amazon.

Download the list of WA’s top 100 listed companies, as of 29 February 2024, explore the sections below, and if you do not currently receive our WA Index, please register to be added to our distribution list.

Commodity review

Commodity prices experienced another volatile month, with energy commodities largely hampered by a mild European winter and industrial commodities impacted by a slowdown in demand from the commodity consuming powerhouse, China.

Nickel closed at US$17,760/t, up 11% for the month. This increase comes off the back of a severe downward trend caused by unfavourable supply projections, specifically supply out of Indonesia which is projected to dominate supply though the mining of their low-cost nickel laterite deposits. However, February saw Macquarie Bank revise its nickel supply and demand outlook stating that the supply surplus does not look as large as initially estimated.

The price of Newcastle Coal surged to US$134/t, experiencing a 6% gain during February. The surge in price comes as China experience lower hydropower output, thus relying on thermal power generation. Countries such as Japan and South Korea continue to purchase meaningful quantities of the commodity driving the demand for the commodity higher.

Uranium lost US$5/LB to close at US$95/LB, equating to a 5% loss of its recent gains. As stated in last month’s edition, the uranium price has experienced significant tail winds driven by supply shortages as well as revised production guidance from the world’s largest producer Kazatomprom. During the month, the second largest Uranium producer, Cameco, revealed that it believes the current pricing environment presents an opportunity to increase their production and hence benefit from the increased demand, which further dampened the price of the commodity.

The price of iron ore decreased 10% to close at US$117/t. The commodity has struggled this year mainly as a result of decreased demand from China due to the slowing property construction sector. Historically, Chinese demand for iron ore post Lunar New Year Holiday increases as steel mills move to add to their depleted inventory. However, February 2024 failed to meet expectations with many Chinese steel mills holding back on the purchasing of iron ore.

LNG struggled in February, decreasing 17% to close at US$8.37/MMbtu. Europe found themselves at the back end of a very mild winter, which severely limited the demand for the commodity due to its role in heating homes and businesses.  In addition to this, France improved its nuclear power generation and Germany continued to battle recessionary fears – this news negatively impacting the demand outlook for the commodity.

Performance of WA Index and Global indices

WA Index movement

Top 20 performers of the month

Liontown Resources Ltd (ASX: LTR) market capitalisation experienced a volatile month – closing the month up 19.9%. Performance was the result of improving sentiment in the lithium market following half-year results for several larger industry players showing a stronger than expected first half of FY24. The increase was also indicative of share price recovery following the banking syndicate’s removal of funding support in late January, with the project’s funding still uncertain.

Pilbara Resources Ltd (ASX: PLS) market capitalisation increased 18.3% during the month, in line with much of the lithium industry. Chinese lepidolite production forecasts caused uncertainty following production halts from environmental inspections, suggesting a short-term shortage that drove increases in battery metals futures. Ongoing demand was also signalled by PLS signing a new offtake extension, with Chengxin Lithium, and reporting to the market ongoing reduction in production costs.

Bellevue Gold Ltd (ASX: BGL) increased its market capitalisation 15% during the month. Whilst gold prices traded flat during the month, Bellevue reported promising initial mill performance during January at the RIU Conference – with throughput reaching an annualised 1Mtpa run rate and mill utilisation sitting at 92%. The site’s ramp up during January reaffirmed second half guidance of 75 KOz -85 KOz, with the company now generating positive free cashflow.

The top Deloitte WA Index Movers and Shakers in September

APM Human Services International Ltd (ASX: APM) saw its market capitalisation more than double in the month of February, up 121.6% for the period. February saw the disability and workplace services provider receive a buyout bid from CVC Asia Pacific Limited which would see APM shareholders receive A$1.60 per share less any dividends paid after the Proposal date. After APM rejected this bid, CVC revised their offer to A$2.00 per share at the end of the month which led to APM entering a period of exclusivity with CVC to further negotiate the deal.

Wildcat Resources Ltd (ASX: WC8) benefited from the recent positive shift in lithium market sentiment, with its market capitalisation rising 83.7% for the month. The company continues to explore its Tabba Tabba lithium project near Portheadland, WA, with a 100,000m drill program underway which has already delivered impressive results such as 180m @1.1% Li2O.

BCI Minerals Ltd (ASX: BCI) saw its market capitalisation rise by 78% during the month of February, owing to a $315m capital raise entered on February 5 to fund phase 1 of the Mardie Project, which when completed, will be Australia’s largest solar salt project. The mineral resources company secured $140.9m of the Entitlement Offer and Tranche 1 of the Placement offer ($47.5m) on February 5, and completed the $114m Retail component of the offer on 28 February.

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