BHP Billiton Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mackenzie expressed optimism that the slump in commodity prices may be close to bottoming out, in an interview published Saturday by the Australian newspaper.

Any turnaround in raw materials prices would be gradual, and bumpy, with supply expanding faster than demand, MacKenzie told the newspaper. He also said BHP’s moves to reduce costs and improve productivity left it well placed for a rebound or a renewed slump.

“We’re not looking at the screens and things continue to go down, down and down. And yet we are able to look at our numbers to see costs going down, down, down,’’ Mackenzie was quoted as saying. “If you look at the basket of commodities that we deal with, the numbers are self-evident: the fall has stopped.”

BHP cut its dividend for the first time in 15 years in February as the collapse in commodity prices spurred a 92 percent tumble in first-half profit for the world’s biggest mining company.

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