Australia: Miners pull shares lower on weak commodity prices

AUSTRALIAN shares ended a choppy session lower on Wednesday (Jun 22), with mining and gold stocks leading the fall on weak commodity prices, while interest rate hikes and broadening inflationary pressures across the globe kept investors on edge.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.23 per cent lower at 6,508.5, declining for an eighth session in 9.

Global markets were volatile as investors continue to assess how worried they need to be about central banks pushing the world economy into recession as they attempt to curtail red-hot inflation with rate increases.

"Until we see a peak in inflationary pressures or a change in central bank hawkishness, we'd anticipate this volatility to persist and for markets to remain somewhat fraught," said Kerry Craig, a global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management.

Miners slipped 0.37 per cent and were among the top drags on the Australian benchmark, weighed down by weak iron ore prices as worries grew about steel oversupply in China.

However, iron ore behemoths BHP and Rio Tinto gained 0.2 per cent and 0.6 per cent, respectively.

Gold stocks dropped 0.9 per cent on softer bullion prices. Newcrest Mining, the country's largest gold miner, dropped 0.8 per cent, while Northern Star Resources fell 0.25 per cent.

Energy stocks, however, gained 1.5 per cent, with oil and gas major Woodside Energy Group and Santos up 1.95 per cent and 1.21 per cent, respectively.

In other news, shares of Zip Co closed 11.4 per cent lower after hitting a 6-year low, as the buy-now-pay-later firm said it would increase consumer fee and merchant repricing, among others, to counter the effect of higher interest rates.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.21 per cent lower at 10,678.67. REUTERS

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