NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of BHP Billiton (BHP) - Get Report are slumping 4.59% to $24.13 Tuesday morning as the company slashed its interim dividend by 75%, the first cut since 1988, Reuters reported.

The Australian miner reduced its dividend following a sharp decline in prices for oil, iron ore, coal and other raw materials.

BHP posted a net loss of $5.67 billion for the first half of the 2016 financial year, which was its first loss in more than 16 years and slashed its interim dividend to 16 cents.

Analysts had forecast a dividend of 31 cents, Reuters noted.

"Slower growth in China and the disruption of OPEC have resulted in lower prices than expected," CEO Andrew Mackenzie said in a statement.

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"Our new dividend policy and transparent capital allocation framework are part of a broader strategy to help BHP Billiton manage volatility," he added.

BHP is engaged in the exploration, development, production, processing and marketing of minerals, such as iron ore, metallurgical and energy coal, copper, aluminum and silver.

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