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  • Clyde Russell is a Reuters columnist. BHP said its productivity-led volume and cost efficiencies were $2.9 billion in the year to end June 2014, beating its target by $1.1 billion. Given the company's net income for the period was $13.4 billion, the $2.9 billion in savings represents about 22 percent of the profit, which certainly looks impressive.

  • SINGAPORE, Aug 20- Brent crude futures steadied near 14- month lows above $101 a barrel on Wednesday, with ample supplies putting prices at risk of further losses as worries over geopolitical tensions ease.

  • Brent holds near 14-month low on plentiful supply Tuesday, 19 Aug 2014 | 11:32 PM ET

    SINGAPORE, Aug 20- Brent crude futures steadied near 14- month lows above $101 a barrel on Wednesday, with ample supplies putting prices at risk of further losses as worries over geopolitical tensions ease.

  • SYDNEY, Aug 20- AGL Energy Ltd, Australia's No. 2 gas and electricity retailer by sales, on Wednesday booked a 3.9 percent fall in underlying annual net profit as it experienced a warmer-than- expected winter and demand for energy fell.

  • *Capital Economics sees copper falling to $6,500 by year end. "The upward move is likely being helped by tightness in the nearby spreads in aluminium, helping to deter fresh shorts and triggering some short-covering activity," analyst Leon Westgate at Standard Bank said in a note. Copper prices, however, dipped on concerns over the potential for excess supply.

  • LONDON/ MELBOURNE- The world's biggest mining company, BHP Billiton, announces plans to spin off businesses worth an estimated $16 billion, most of them acquired in a 2001 merger, to focus on its most profitable activities.

  • LONDON, Aug 19- Copper prices steadied on Tuesday as encouraging signs from the U.S. economy offset concerns about top consumer China's struggling property sector and the outlook for industrial metals demand. Analysts said upcoming economic data from the United States and China could give a better picture of the copper demand outlook.

  • LONDON, Aug 19- Copper prices steadied on Tuesday, as encouraging signs from the U.S. economy offset concerns about top consumer China's struggling property sector and the outlook for industrial metals demand. Analysts said upcoming economic data from the United States and China could give a better picture of the copper demand outlook.

  • *London- listed shares drop 4 pct. MELBOURNE, Aug 19- The world's biggest mining company, BHP Billiton, announced plans to spin off businesses worth an estimated $16 billion, most of them acquired in its 2001 merger with Billiton, to focus on its most profitable activities. BHP's London- listed shares fell 4 percent.

  • *BHP UK shares drop 4 pct. MELBOURNE, Aug 19- Top global miner BHP Billiton will spin off a roughly $16 billion company to shareholders, mostly offloading assets acquired in its 2001 merger with Billiton, as it looks to focus on its strongest businesses.

  • BHP plans asset split, posts $13.8 billion profit Tuesday, 19 Aug 2014 | 3:58 AM ET

    SYDNEY— BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, said Tuesday it plans to split off some of its smaller assets into a separate company, as it posted a $13.8 billion annual profit. It will be based in Perth, Australia, and listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, with a secondary listing in South Africa.

  • *H2 profit up 8 pct to $5.69 bln. MELBOURNE, Aug 19- Top global miner BHP Billiton will spin off a roughly $14 billion company to shareholders, mostly offloading assets it acquired in its 2001 merger with Billiton, as it looks to focus on its strongest businesses.

  • Aussie miner lawmaker criticized for China tirade Tuesday, 19 Aug 2014 | 12:47 AM ET

    CANBERRA, Australia— A larger-than-life Australian mining magnate turned lawmaker, Clive Palmer, was widely accused Tuesday of threatening Australia's relationship with its biggest trading partner through an extraordinary tirade against China.

  • DIARY - Top Economic Events to Sep 2 Monday, 18 Aug 2014 | 8:01 PM ET

    SYDNEY- Reserve Bank of Australia will release the minutes of its August policy board meeting- 2340 GMT. SALZBURG, Germany- Federal Reserve Bank of New York Deputy General Counsel and Senior Vice President Joyce Hansen, Austrian National Bank Deputy Governor Andreas Ittner and Bundesbank Board member Andreas Dombret speak at Salzburg Global Seminar.

  • SYDNEY, Aug 19- When a scorching drought struck eastern Australia in 2006, cattle farmers Robyn and Paul Kendal had to slaughter nearly all their livestock and spend around a year of their normal turnover on feed to keep the remainder alive.

  • *China foreign direct investment falls. LONDON, Aug 18- London copper edged higher on Monday as some investors regarded recent losses as overdone, but gains were capped after new home prices in top metal consumer China fell in July for the third month in a row. Investors are still jittery about developments in China, however.

  • *China foreign direct investment falls. LONDON, Aug 18- London copper edged higher on Monday as some investors regarded recent losses as overdone, but gains were capped after new home prices in top metal consumer China fell in July for the third month in a row. Investors are still jittery about developments in China, however.

  • *China new home prices fall for third month in a row. *China foreign direct investment also falls. LONDON, Aug 18- London copper steadied on Monday, but remained under pressure near two-month lows after new home prices in top metal consumer China fell in July for the third month in a row.

  • FOREX-Carney buoys sterling, dollar under pressure Monday, 18 Aug 2014 | 4:07 AM ET

    *Carney tells Sunday Times UK rates may rise before pay recovers. LONDON, Aug 18- Sterling was the main mover on major currency markets on Monday, recovering from last week's multi-month lows after the Bank of England said interest rates might have to rise before wage inflation picks up.

  • *Gold recovers after dropping below $1,300. SINGAPORE, Aug 18- Gold recovered modestly on Monday to trade just above $1,300 an ounce as escalating tensions in Ukraine sapped risk appetite, hurting stocks and bidding up safe-haven assets. "There was some selling as Tokyo and China opened this morning sending gold to session lows," said a trader in Sydney.