News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: BHP, Rio Tinto tipped to sell $30b of shares to fund asset buys; World Bank sees slower global growth; and Port Hedland iron ore exports rise in December.

Lou Caruana

BHP, Rio Tinto tipped to sell $30b of shares to fund asset buys

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Group, the world's biggest mining companies, could sell as much as $US21 billion ($29.7 billion) of shares to help them buy assets from distressed industry rivals, said analysts at Bank of America. Mining shares were leading the FTSE 100 lower in afternoon trade in London on Wednesday.

“The ‘blue chip’ large cap miners, that is BHP and Rio, could consider raising equity to be ready to acquire distressed tier-one assets,” analysts led by Jason Fairclough wrote in a note to clients. “We think there is no time like the present. Strengthening balance sheets would give flexibility if/when tier-one assets come to market.”

World Bank sees slower global growth

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that global economy will sputter along this year as China's slowdown prolongs a commodity slump and contractions endure in Brazil and Russia, according to the World Bank.

The Washington-based development bank lowered its forecast for 2016 growth to 2.9%, from a 3.3% projection in June, according to its bi-annual Global Economic Prospects report released on Wednesday. The world economy advanced 2.4% last year, less than a forecast of 2.8% in June and slower than the 2.6% expansion in 2014, the bank said.

Port Hedland iron ore exports rise in December

Iron ore cargoes from Australia's Port Hedland climbed last month to cap a record year as billionaire Gina Rinehart's Roy Hill project began overseas sales, joining miners shipping greater volumes into a global market that's facing oversupply and sinking prices, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Total shipments were 37.55 million tonnes from 37.33Mt in November and 37.12Mt a year ago, according to data from the Pilbara Ports Authority on Wednesday. Exports to China were 32.17Mt from 31.73Mt the previous month and 30.63Mt a year earlier.