Here’s why the BHP Billiton Limited share price fell to a new 10-year low today

Credit: Lucas Walters

Shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) have fallen to a fresh 10-year low today, sliding as much as 2.9% to just $14.31. That’s down almost 70% from a peak of roughly $45 in 2011, and down nearly 20% so far in 2016.

Although BHP’s two most important commodities, namely iron ore and oil, rose in value overnight, investors are likely responding to the miner’s first-half operational review which it released this morning.

Within the announcement, BHP reduced guidance on iron ore and Onshore US oil production while it also announced a further US$300 million to US$450 million in impairment charges.

That comes in addition to the US$7.2 billion impairment charge the miner recently booked on its energy assets as a result of crashing oil prices, which both threaten to impact the miner’s earnings when it reports in February.

Source: Google Finance

Source: Google Finance

As tempting as it may seem to put some money to work in BHP Billiton at this historically low share price, investors need to be aware of the risks and headwinds which threaten to drag the shares even lower.

Indeed, BHP Billiton’s largest customer, China, is now growing at its slowest rate in 25 years. Its growth is expected to continue slowing with commodity prices also expected to continue falling, perhaps sharply. As a price taker, commodity prices are something that BHP has very little control over which does make the future very uncertain.

Investors who buy today could be rewarded in the long-run, but even at their current price tag, I believe investors have a better chance of achieving superior returns by looking elsewhere in the market.

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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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