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Mining shares with thermal coal assets have been tipped to show the best cash returns when the sector’s half-year reporting season swings round in about a month’s time. While investors have long taken their positions in these shares, it’s perhaps less appreciated that coal offers some defensive characteristics, especially as concerns about a global recession start to ratchet up.

Metal prices have corrected almost across the board, while rising inflation has weighed heavily on mining shares since the end of last year. Both these factors are ameliorated by thermal coal for the companies that have it, the price of which is being influenced by geopolitical stressors in Europe, which is trying to lessen its dependence on Russian gas after the invasion of Ukraine...

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