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Plunging prices force mining firm BHP Billiton to dig deep

By Holly Williams

Global mining giant BHP Billiton posted its worst profits for more than a decade after being hit by plunging commodity prices amid the slowdown in China's economy.

The world's biggest miner saw annual net profits crash 86% to £1.9bn US dollars (£1.2bn) while profits on an underlying basis more than halved, down 52% to $6.4bn (£4.1bn) - lower than expected and the worst performance for more than 10 years.

BHP said it had cut its forecasts for steel demand in China and warned the country's slowing economy would lead to further market volatility.

Miners across the sector have been hammered by slowing demand from China as the world's second largest economy has faltered.

Sharp falls from miners have seen global markets tumble, with around £74bn wiped off the value of blue chips in London alone on Monday in a grim session which has now been dubbed 'Black Monday'.

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