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Australia: Shares down, largest monthly drop this year


[SYDNEY] Australian shares slipped 0.8 per cent on Thursday as a fall in iron ore prices weighed on the resources sector, while nerves over next week's Reserve Bank of Australia interest rate policy meeting kept banks under pressure.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 48.6 points to 5,790 at the close of trade.

The index touched a seven-week low to be down 1.7 per cent for the month, its largest fall this year.

In contrast, New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.9 per cent or 50.5 points to finish the session at 5,791.3. It has shed 0.7 per cent this month.