The Australian sharemarket dropped, led by a sell-off in commodity stocks, as traders upped their bets on more rate rises from the RBA and amid concerns about China’s economic recovery.
The S&P/ASX 200 lost 1.6 per cent, or 118 points, to 7091.3 points, for its lowest close since March 29 and worst single day loss since March. For the month the index shed 3 per cent.
That’s after monthly inflation data for April topped the market’s expectations at 6.8 per cent year-on-year and Chinese manufacturing landed weaker than expected.
Mining companies slumped as coal futures extended a 12 per cent loss to fall another 4 per cent and iron ore also hit the skids. Whitehaven Coal sank 6.5 per cent to $5.66, New Hope Corporation tumbled 4.2 per cent to $4.61 and Coronado Coal shed 3.3 per cent to $1.32. Australia’s largest miner BHP Group lost 3.4 per cent to $42.02.
Oil companies were also lower as crude fell below $US70 a barrel.
Elsewhere on the ASX, Bank of Queensland tanked 5.4 per cent to $5.47 after it admitted that money-laundering regulator AUSTRAC and banking regulator APRA had agreed enforceable undertakings against the regional lender.
Shares in uranium miner Paladin closed up 1.3 per cent to 54.2¢ after it said it was unaware of any imminent proposed legislative changes in Namibia that would affect the ownership of its 75 per cent-owned Langer Heinrich mine.