BHP Billiton profit slumps 56.5%

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 04 2009 08:31 AM | Updated as of Feb 04 2009 06:45 PM

MELBOURNE - The world's largest miner, BHP Billiton, reported that its first-half profit slumped 56.5 percent to $2.61 billion Wednesday.

The Anglo-Australian resources giant, which cut about 6,000 jobs last month because of the global economic downturn, also predicted a weak outlook over the medium term as demand for its products continued to weaken.

"During the six months to December 2008, we have witnessed an unprecedented fall in commodity prices, with market prices falling in the order of 50 per cent during this period," it said.

"As the global economy continues to deteriorate, we are witnessing further demand contraction for our products. We believe it is likely that uncertainty will extend into the medium term."

BHP Billiton said revenues rose 16.6 percent to $29.78 billion over the six months to December, while net cash flow rose 73.9 percent to $13.09 billion.