Looking ahead the trend is clearer: continued production growth across all major commodities they are involved with:
We all know however that it is about much more than just production growth - BHP's share price decline (shown in a 3 year chart below) can be almost exclusively attributed to sales price declines.
We will get the full balance sheet from BHP Billiton in a few weeks time but I liked the sound today of the 40% capex cut in the shale gas developments as frankly this reflects a sensible reality...and you would much rather have a large mining company reflect this.
As I noted back in October (admittedly at a clearly higher share price) the BHP Billiton story is all about cost cutting, simplification and maintenance of the headline attractive 5%+ dividend at the moment. These shale gas cutbacks reflect this...and that's why I still believe the company's shares are good value today looking forward on any reasonable basis.
(above chart from the October 2014 CMD)