BHP rides the tail of a changing China

Falling commodity demand led by China sliced $US8.9 billion off BHP Billiton's earnings but the mining giant's cost cuts and potash play have it shaping up nicely for China's next chapter.

The impact of Andrew Mackenzie and the major shift in stance and strategy that occurred within BHP Billiton even before he replaced Marius Kloppers as chief executive earlier this year is starting to show up in the group’s results.

The steep drop-off in BHP’s earnings, which fell 31 per cent to $US11.8 billion excluding significant items, was expected given the big falls in commodity prices that occurred in the latter stages of 2012. It could, however, have been worse.

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