National currency appreciation in mineral-dependent states is conventionally “bad news” for mining companies, which are heavily reliant on exports priced in dollars. While fluctuations in exchange rates have, in recent years, often not had major impacts on companies’ fortunes and been dealt with fairly swiftly by national banks, the rising strength of Australian and Canadian dollars and the South African rand, is now causing the industry concern. The Australian dollar has appreciated by as much as 23% against the US dollar since March, while Rio Tinto recently said that a mere 10% move would reduce its underlying earnings by $502-million. So – don’t believe all you’re told about the recent rise in metal prices directly benefiting miners’ balance sheets. Perhaps, too, lend a little more credibility to those “analysts” who, over the past couple of years of economic recession, have suggested that currencies should returned to being backed by gold – worrisome though that may well be. [Comment by Nostromo Research, 22 May 2009]