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David Fickling

Mining Won't Undermine Australian Banks

Wiping out all mining loans would do less damage than a 4 percent decline in their mortgage books.

Australians hate a tall poppy, which means the country's richly-valued banks are liable to get cut down at the first hint of bad news.

So when Australia & New Zealand Banking Group admitted last week that it would have to take higher bad-debt charges due to the slump in commodity prices the shares fell as much as 6 percent, the biggest drop in more than seven months. Overvalued banks, rising defaults, troubled mining companies: what's not to dislike about that picture?