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Australian shares fell on Thursday led by commodity and technology stocks, as investor sentiment was dented after ratings agency Fitch cut the US government’s credit rating.

The S&P/ASX 200 index retreated 0.8% to 7,294 by 0043 GMT to hit its lowest level since July 21. The index ended 1.3% lower on Wednesday.

Markets were rattled globally after Fitch on Tuesday downgraded the US government’s top credit rating in a surprise move.

Australian technology stocks which closely track their Wall Street peers slumped 2.3% to hit their lowest level since July 27.

Economists polled by Reuters said that the Reserve Bank of Australia would likely raise interest rates by 25 basis points next quarter in their last hike of the cycle, following a surprise pause on Tuesday.

Major sub-indexes traded in the negative territory.

Heavyweight mining stocks fell 1.2% to hit their lowest level since July 25. Mining behemoths BHP Group and Rio Tinto slid 0.7% and 1.1%, respectively.

Energy stocks retreated 0.9% to hit their lowest level since July 24, as oil price weakened overnight.

Australian shares fall as mining, financials weigh

Financial stocks retreated 0.9%, with all of the ‘big four’ banks trading in the red. Shares of Downer EDI fell 2.5% after the Australian contractor said that it expected to record a statutory net loss after tax of about A$386 million ($252.52 million) for fiscal 2023.

Graphite explorer Syrah Resources said it had executed agreements with two US-based companies for the supply of graphite from its Balama operations in Mozambique.

Shares were down 2.8%.

Liontown Resources Ltd were flat after the battery metals explorer agreed to deliver lithium direct shipping ore product ahead of first concentrate production at its flagship Kathleen Valley lithium project.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index retreated 0.5% to 11,898.66.

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