NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Arch Coal (ACI) stock is retreating 21.44% to $4.25 on heavy trading volume on Tuesday after China imported 17.7% less coal in August, compared to July.

China, the largest coal buyer in the world, imported 17.49 million metric tons in August after the country devalued its currency leading to more expensive coal imports, which are already facing weak demand, Reuters reports.

"Under the impact of the devaluation, the price advantages of imported coal will gradually narrow, and we are forecasting imports coming under further pressure in September," Guangfa Securities analysts told Reuters.

In July, Chinese coal imports hit an eight-month high of 21.26 million metric tons after mines in the country reduced production.

Imports declined 31.3% year-over-year to 138.6 million tons in the first eight months of the year, Reuters added.

So far today, 4.22 million shares of Arch Coal exchanged hands, compared with its average daily volume of 2.39 million shares.

TheStreet Ratings team rates ARCH COAL INC as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate ARCH COAL INC (ACI) a SELL. This is driven by several weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its unimpressive growth in net income, disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow and generally high debt management risk."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed against the S&P 500 and did not exceed that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 73.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$96.86 million to -$168.10 million.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, ARCH COAL INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for ARCH COAL INC is currently extremely low, coming in at 9.16%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -26.08% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$121.30 million or 218.62% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 3.69 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Regardless of the company's weak debt-to-equity ratio, ACI has managed to keep a strong quick ratio of 2.11, which demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: ACI Ratings Report