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BHP Billiton still wary despite return to profit

British-Australian miner watchful of downward pressure on iron ore price

SYDNEY -- BHP Billiton sees a "more uncertain" outlook for key commodities after a recovery in prices that made for a strong first half for the Anglo-Australian mining group.

Growth in Chinese steel production is expected to taper off in the short term owing to slackness in the housing market, CEO Andrew Mackenzie told an earnings conference Tuesday. High port inventories of iron ore, as well as an expected rise in supply, are putting downward pressure on prices of the steel ingredient, he added.

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