Fri, Jan. 30, 7:43 AM
- BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) says it plans to trim its workforce at the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine in southern Australia in an attempt to reduce operating costs amid softer commodity prices.
- A leading area politician reportedly says 300 workers would be cut.
- BHP says it cannot provide a net figure for exactly how the changes would affect its total head count at the mine, which employs ~4,300 people, until later in the year; BHP has planned to increase copper output from the mine in the second half of the year.
Tue, Jan. 27, 11:47 AM
- U.S. exports of condensate have been given an important boost by Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE:EPD) agreements for contracts with at least two major trading companies to sell the light crude, according to a Reuters report.
- EPD has contracts with Mitsubishi's Petro-Diamond Singapore oil trading arm and independent oil trader Vitol for 1.2M bbl/month of U.S. condensate in 2015, trade sources say, which should give it a head start before other companies win approval to export condensate produced from shale operations.
- Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) also has approvals to export U.S. light crudes, while ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) is seeking a license and BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) also has sold at least two cargoes.
Mon, Jan. 26, 8:31 AM
- Iron ore prices extend their retreat to the lowest levels in more than five years, due to slower demand growth for steel in China as the largest mining companies add to supply.
- Ore with 62% content delivered to Qingdao, China, fell 4.3% to $63.54/dry metric ton, the lowest price since May 2009, and extends its 11% YTD decline.
- Goldman Sachs last week joined other global banks in cutting price forecasts for 2015, predicting a return to a bull market is probably more than a decade away.
- VALE -2.5%, BHP -0.5%, RIO +0.4% premarket.
Fri, Jan. 23, 11:18 AM
- Iron ore miners are broadly lower after Goldman Sachs becomes the latest global bank to deliver a dismal outlook for the steel-making ingredient, forecasting an average price of $66/metric ton this year from an earlier estimate of $80.
- Goldman is at least the fifth bank this month to lower estimates, citing rising seaborne supplies and weaker demand growth from China; just last week, Citigroup cut its iron ore forecast to $58 in 2015, down from its earlier $65, and UBS lowered its target to $66 from $85.
- Low-cost expansions likely will continue as major producers are still mining iron ore at a profit, which would expand the global seaborne surplus from 47M tons this year to 260M tons by 2018, Goldman says.
- Iron ore miners: VALE -8%, BHP -3%, RIO -3.6%, CLF -7.6%.
- Copper miners: FCX -2.6%, SCCO -2.4%, TCK -2.6%.
- Steel companies: X -6.3%, MT -7.1%, AKS -3.2%, NUE -1.2%, STLD -3%, CMC -3.8%, TMST -2.4%.
- Earlier: Goldman gives in on mined commodities
Wed, Jan. 21, 12:29 PM
- BHP Billiton's (NYSE:BHP) planned South32 spinoff may appeal to Glencore (OTCPK:GLCNF, OTCPK:GLNCY), Bloomberg speculates, because the newly formed company is taking shape near the bottom of the commodity cycle and it produces many of the same metals, including silver, manganese, aluminum.
- Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg is looking for undervalued acquisition targets, and his record as a relentless acquirer of assets makes him a potential buyer of South32, according to the report.
- Glencore’s market value has fallen more than 25% amid falling prices for metals and minerals, curbing Glasenberg’s prospects of a renewed deal with Rio Tinto, which some analysts say may make the cheaper South32 a more realistic option.
Tue, Jan. 20, 7:23 PM
- BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) says it will shut down 40% of its U.S. shale oil rigs by the end of its fiscal year.
- BHP plans to pare the number of rigs it is using in the U.S. to 16 from 26, focusing on drilling in the liquids-rich Black Hawk basin while cutting back in the Permian and Hawkville acreage; it says it will provide more details on its revised shale drilling budget, originally set at $4B for this financial year, next month.
- Also, BHP says its iron ore output climbed 16% to 56.35M metric tons in the December quarter, and reaffirmed it would boost annual output by 11% in the fiscal year to June 2015 to 225M metric tons; petroleum production for the quarter rose 10% Y/Y to 63.6M boe.
- Earlier: BHP seen slashing U.S. shale spending to shore up dividend promise
Tue, Jan. 20, 3:39 PM
- BHP Billiton (BHP -0.9%), which has cut capital spending for the past two years, may need to cut its planned $4B spending this year on U.S. shale wells and book writedowns on its shale assets to have enough cash to meet a promise not to reduce its dividend, analysts and investors say.
- U.S. onshore drilling is the biggest single item in BHP's planned $14.2B capital budget and would be the easiest target, but longer-dated projects such as the Jansen potash project in Canada and the Olympic Dam copper expansion study in Australia also could be vulnerable
- "There's severe pressure for them to cut capex on the onshore business. Once they come clean with that, the market will be in a better position to assess its value," says CIMB analyst Michael Evans, who thinks BHP could its shale spending in half to $2B.
- The spending cuts could come as soon as Wednesday, when BHP will release its December quarter operational review.
Wed, Jan. 14, 12:39 PM
- Citi cuts price targets for iron ore to $58 for 2015 and $62 for 2016, down from its prior estimates of $65 for both years, and lowers its outlook for thermal and met coal.
- Citi warns its downwardly revised forecast means it now expects earnings for major mining companies will fall by 9%-21% for 2015 and by 3%-16% in 2016.
- Rio Tinto (RIO -2.5%) is the exception, as Citi sees earnings rising 7.1% this year and 10.6% next year due to the company’s greater exposure to the weaker Australian dollar.
- The firm cuts its price target for Glencore (OTCPK:GLCNF -7.2%) by 8% to £3.60 from £3.90 and sees earnings falling 21% and 16% respectively in 2015 and 2016.
- Citi says it is still bullish on the sector, but warns that metals and mining companies will only slowly grind higher over the next few years.
- Also: BHP -4.5%, VALE -5%, FCX -12%, SCCO -4.9%, TCK -9.7%, CLF -4.4%, CENX -9.1%, MT -4.2%, X -4.9%, NUE -3.4%, STLD -2.6%, BTU -9.8%, ANR -8.8%, ACI -8.9%.
Wed, Jan. 14, 10:28 AM
- Freeport McMoRan (FCX -10.8%) sinks to a 52-week low as copper prices fall 4.5% to collapse to 2009 levels, though it is off overnight lows after prices were down nearly 9% at one point in London.
- Other big global miners also are sharply lower: SCCO -7.3%, RIO -2.5%, BHP -4.4%, VALE -3.8%, CLF -5.8%.
- Concerns over a supply glut and slowing consumption in China have weighed on copper prices in recent months; copper is often seen as an omen for the global economy because it is used in a wide array of construction and manufacturing activities, so today's precipitous drop explains much of the weakness in global equity markets.
- The iPath Dow Jones UBS Copper Subindex Total Return ETN (NYSEARCA:JJC) is trading so heavily that nearly 60% of the average full-day volume traded in the first 10 minutes this morning.
- ETFs: CPER, CUPM, DBB, BOM, RJZ, BOS, BDD, JJM, RGRI, UBM, BDG, USMI, HEVY
Wed, Jan. 14, 7:57 AM
- Mining stocks look headed for sizable losses, as copper prices sink to five-and-a-half year lows and the World Bank lowers its forecast for global economic growth.
- Glencore (OTCPK:GLCNF, OTCPK:GLNCY) -11.5% in London trading, Antofagasta (OTC:ANFGF) -7% in London, Anglo American (OTCPK:AAUKF, OTCPK:AAUKY) -9.5% in London, Vedanta (OTCPK:VDNRF) -18% in London, Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) -4.3% premarket in the U.S., VALE -2.9%, FCX -5.1%, CLF -2.6%.
- BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) -7.5% in London and -5.5% U.S. premarket after S&P Capital IQ downgraded shares to Hold from Buy, expecting "weaker commodity prices to increasingly impact on group profits as hedges expire and see currency headwinds from a stronger [U.S. dollar]."
- ETFs: XLB, XME, SLX, COPX, VAW, UYM, CU, IYM, HAP, IRV, MXI, SMN, GNR, GUNR, PICK, MATL, FXZ, PYZ, CRBQ, RTM, CCXE, FMAT, GRES, SBM
Tue, Jan. 13, 6:55 PM
- MarketWatch's Philip Van Doorn spotlights U.S. drillers and oilfield services companies with efficiency advantages that could help them weather the bear market in crude oil.
- A key step in the fracking process to extract oil from shale is pumping proppant into a well to open cracks from which oil and gas can flow, but the cost of proppant varies widely; companies with the lowest proppant cost will have the best shot of turning a profit from shale extraction operations during a prolonged period of low oil prices, Van Doorn writes.
- The Rockies formation is considered the most efficient, with a proppant cost of $8.88/bbl during the first 90 days of production; 54% of WPX Energy’s (NYSE:WPX) non-conventional oil wells are in the Rockies.
- 83% of Noble Energy’s (NYSE:NBL) non-conventional wells are located in the Niobrara formation, which has a low proppant cost of $15.41/bbl.
- Overall, Hess (NYSE:HES) is calculated to boast the best proppant efficiency, with an average cost of $3.58/bbl for the first 90 days of production, followed by BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) with an average cost or $9.14, and Whiting Petroleum (NYSE:WLL) with an average proppant cost of $11.08/bbl.
Mon, Jan. 12, 2:56 PM
- Apache (NYSE:APA) appears to have gone cold on the $3B sale of its remaining West Australian gas and oil assets as oil prices plunge and potential buyers struggle, The Australian reports.
- Sales talks with potential buyers are said to have been held up in the wake of sliding prices and high Western Australia gas prices amid falling international oil prices and U.S. gas prices that could make a deal look less appealing.
- At the same time, last month’s $2.75B sale of its Wheatstone LNG stake in Australia and in the yet-to-be approved Kitimat venture in British Columbia may have eased the pressure from activist shareholders who were pushing APA to focus on the U.S.
- Among potential buyers, Santos (OTCPK:STOSF) is APA’s partner in some Australian fields but is now in conservation mode following the oil price slide, Origin Energy (OTC:OGFGF) is facing a downgrade of its credit rating if oil prices fall and will not want to weaken its balance sheet, and even BHP - APA’s partner in the Macedon gas plant - is facing challenges maintaining its A-grade credit rating.
Dec. 31, 2014, 7:35 AM
- "The major factor that undercut ore prices in 2014 was the Australian-led supply surge," says Morgan Stanley's Tom Price. "In terms of price downside, the worst is probably over."
- A late-year rally has prices down "only" about 50% for the year.
- The bear market occurred as low-cost supplies from the like of BHP Billiton (BHP, BBL) and Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) came online just as demand from China began to cool, and the market shifted to surplus in the middle of the year. Goldman Sachs sees the excess widening to roughly 300M tons by 2017 as past investments from the miners continue to lift supplies.
- Behind Morgan Stanley's quasi-bullishness is the idea of the price decline pushing high-cost producers to the sideline, a thought echoed by VALE CEO Murilo Ferreira last month.
Dec. 31, 2014, 2:48 AM
- The U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security said it will allow companies to sell oil condensate that has been processed through a basic distillation tower, giving them a green light for export without violating a four decade old ban.
- The agency also published a list of answers to common questions about crude exports, providing guidelines for the first time on an area that has been blanketed in confusion, although many are saying there is still a lot of room for interpretation.
- Previously: U.S. gives silent okay to condensate exports (Dec. 30 2014)
- Related tickers: PXD, EPD, BHP, PSX, KMI, ETP, RGP, CVX
Dec. 30, 2014, 8:13 AM
- The U.S. Commerce Department is telling some oil companies that they should consider exporting condensate without formal permission, Reuters reports.
- Officials familiar with the law said the agency's discussions did not represent a change in policy since self-classification is allowed under U.S. export controls.
- Despite the policy, Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD) and Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE:EPD) obtained explicit permission from the agency to export in June, while last month BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) became the first company to announce that it would export condensate without authorization from the government.
- Related tickers: PSX, KMI, ETP, RGP, CVX
Dec. 22, 2014, 6:15 PM
- Global iron ore producers fell today after Australia's Department of Industry slashed its iron ore price estimate by a third due to surging output, which has outpaced Chinese demand and growth, creating a surplus.
- Iron ore prices will average $63/metric ton, vs. $94/ton forecast in September and this year's expected average of ~$88, according to the government's latest quarterly report.
- Ore with 62% content delivered to Qingdao, China, fell 1.8% to $67.90/metric ton, the lowest price since June 2009 and extending this year’s rout to 50%.
- Not everyone is quite so gloomy: Prices appear oversold and there’s potential for a relief rally in H2 2015, Australia & New Zealand Banking says, forecast iron ore to average $80/ton, noting that any recovery will be driven by supply cuts, including high-cost mines in China, where the industry is losing at current prices.
- During today's trading: BHP -2%, RIO -1.8%, VALE -0.6%, CLF -7.9%.
BHP vs. ETF Alternatives
BHP Billiton Ltd is a natural resources company. The Company is engaged in the producing commodities, including iron ore, metallurgical and energy coal, conventional and unconventional oil and gas, copper, aluminium, manganese, uranium, nickel and silver.
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