Australian shares on Tuesday hit their lowest in over three months, dragged by mining and commodity stocks, as worries about the global economic impact of extended COVID-19 curbs in China and tightening monetary policies spurred a broad-based sell-off.
The S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 2.5% to 6,943.80 by 0033 GMT, after hitting their lowest since Jan. 31 earlier in the session.
The benchmark closed 1.2% lower on Monday. Global financial markets have been spooked by concerns over interest-rate hikes, with stringent COVID-19 lockdowns in China slowing April export growth in the world’s second-largest economy and fuelling recession worries. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei was down 1.89% and S&P 500 E-minis futures were down 0.39%.
In the domestic market, miners led the losses with their 5% slide and touched their lowest since December 2021.
Sector heavyweights BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group were down between 4.2% and 6.1%.
Iron ore futures plunged as much as 7% COVID-19 curbs in China prompted traders to be cautious and fuelled concerns over global demand. Energy stocks slid 4.5% after oil prices sank.
Woodside Petroleum and Santos fell 3.1% and 4.1%, respectively. Gold stocks declined 4.4% in their third session of losses after gold prices extended losses after a surge in the dollar to two-decade highs harmed the appeal of non-yielding bullion.
Technology stocks tracked a sharp overnight fall in the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index, which closed at its lowest level since November 2020.
The Australian technology sub-index fell as much as 5.2% to hit its lowest in nearly two years with all other sectors also trading in negative.
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 1.7% to 11,186.36.