BHP shares rise in record production

Shares in BHP Billiton have gained more than one per cent after the mining giant posted another record six months of iron ore production.

BHP's iron ore production in the six months to December 31 was slightly better than analysts had expected, and the company also increased its production of oil, gas and copper.

BHP shares were up 41 cents, or 1.1 per cent, at $36.99 at 1024 AEDT, while Rio Tinto shares were more subdued, up just eight cents at $66.97.

BHP produced 81.96 million tonnes of iron ore at its Western Australian operations in the six months to December 31, up two per cent on the same period in the previous year.

The company maintained its forecast of full year iron ore production of 183 million tonnes.

CMC Markets chief strategist Michael McCarthy said BHP's production report was encouraging.

"It wasn't a shoot the lights out result," he told AAP.

"It was a steady strong performance with good gains in the key divisions of copper, energy and iron ore."

Oil and gas production rose significantly in the six months to December, due to growth in BHP's operations in the United States.

Total petroleum production was 121.15 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe), up 11 per cent from the previous corresponding period.

Natural gas production in the six months to December increased by 15 per cent from the same period in the previous year, while crude oil production rose by four per cent.

Copper production totalled 569,100 tonnes in the six months to December, up 14 per cent from the previous corresponding period.

City Index chief market analyst Peter Esho said the production figures were "rock solid".

"I think if spot prices for their (BHP Billiton's) key commodities remain at current levels there will be a significant upgrades after the company reports (its financial results) in February," Mr Esho said.

"Iron ore is very strong, petroleum is in line, and they have re-affirmed guidance.

"There's more balance coming into the business, with improvements in copper.

"Coal perhaps has room for improvement, but the other gains make up for any ground lost there."

Market Data

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    AUDUSD=X
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    AUDGBP=X
    0.6701+0.0004+0.07%
    AUDEUR=X
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