BHP says sees early signs of commodity recovery – by James Regan (Reuters U.S. – October 19, 2016)

SYDNEY – BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest diversified miner, said on Wednesday it was finally detecting indications of a commodity market turnaround, giving its most upbeat assessment in about five years.

A recovery would be a particular boon for the global miner which has kept production humming through a multi-year collapse in commodities markets, although it cautioned that raw material supply was still outpacing demand despite stronger steel consumption in China.

“We have seen early signs of markets rebalancing,” Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie said in releasing BHP’s September quarter production report and guidance update. “Fundamentals suggest both oil and gas markets will improve over the next 12 to 18 months. Iron ore and metallurgical coal prices have been stronger than expected, although we continue to expect supply to grow more quickly than demand in the near term,” he said.

BHP beat analysts’ estimates for iron ore and petroleum production and just missed projections for output of metallurgical coal – three commodities leading the resurgence.

“This is probably the most positive assessment by BHP in five years,” James Wilson, an analyst for Argonaut Securities, said.

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