The BHP share price falls below $16. How low can they go?

Credit: Lucas Walters

For the first time in more than 10 years, the BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) share price has fallen below $16 per share prompting investors to ask the question: How low will BHP shares go?

Although BHP’s shares rose briefly today, fighting against the downward pull from the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO), they have since fallen another 1.4%. They’re currently trading for $16.10, but hit a low of just $15.95 earlier which represented a fall of more than 50% from their March 2015 peak.

There are a number of factors pulling BHP’s share price lower right now, including fears of a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing (which were exacerbated after trading of Chinese shares was suspended twice this week), as well as plummeting commodity prices.

To begin with, the iron ore price has once again begun to retreat following a brief rally with some analysts forecasting a drop to US$35 a tonne, while copper prices also hit their lowest level in nearly seven years, according to The Australian Financial Review, which could weigh on BHP’s earnings and cash flow.

Oil prices are the other big worry. Brent crude oil slipped another 1.4% to just US$33.75 which was its lowest price in more than 11 years, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude touched its lowest price since December 2003 during the session as well, as reported by the AFR.

Given that its share price was sitting at a decade low late last year, some analysts were insisting that it was a ‘buy’ and that shares would fare better in 2016. Of course, we’re only a week into the new year so it’s far too early to assess whether or not they were wrong, but it is fair to assume the shares could fall even further.

If commodity prices do continue to fall, or if conditions in China do continue to deteriorate, BHP Billiton’s shareholders could be in for another disappointing 12 months.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ASXvalueinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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