Oil prices drop again, Wall St follows


There have been winners and losers from the fall in the price of oil.

Consumers are winning. So too are some companies. But others are losing big.

To see that you need look no further than two of Australia's biggest companies.

Mining giant BHP has announced a US$5.66 billion dollar loss for the six months to December. Underlying profit of US$412 million turned into a loss once the company accounted for write-downs on its oil assets.

The company, which is owned by many New Zealanders and by many Kiwisaver funds, also cuts its dividend by 75 percent.

In stark contrast, Qantas announced a record six-month profit of Australian $921 million. That was due in large part to the fall in the price of aviation fuel. A lower fuel bill saved the company $448 million.

Its cost cutting initiatives saved $261 million.

A drop in the value of the Australian dollar helped too because it boosted the earnings the company made in foreign markets.

The airline announced it is going to offer free in-flight wi-fi on some flights. It is following the lead of Emirates and some US airlines that are already offering wi-fi.

Tomorrow Air New Zealand will announce what is expected to be a record profit result.

It will benefit from the lower fuel costs. But those lower fuel bills are giving its competitors a boost too.

Analysts say that the increased competition is likely to reduce Air New Zealand's profits next year.


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