BHP says metals probe not fundamentally significant for the industry

BHP Billiton (BHP +1.2%) is playing down fears that a probe into commodity-backed loans in China would have a lasting effect on the mining industry, as its marketing president says jitters about the investigation are overblown and that it hadn't affected BHP or the broader industry in any serious way.

Metal traders have warned China's commodity imports could face an extended fall from near-record rates as banks withhold credit and customs officials tighten checks on incoming shipments following allegations a Chinese trading company illegally pledged metals as collateral to more than one lender.

BHP also says a squeeze on credit in China wasn't a worry for the company, as it would help set up the country for more sustainable growth in the longer run.

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