Australia shares continued to fall after broad losses throughout the morning, dipping to near four-month lows, while the Aussie dollar struggles in the face of a strong greenback.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index has slid further into the session, down by 62.1 points, or one per cent, to 6,123.4 at 1200 AEST on Monday, while the broader All Ordinaries is down 59.1 points, or 0.94 per cent, to 6,242.0.
The Aussie is buying 70.50 US cents, down by more than three per cent in three weeks, and down 13 per cent from January’s three-year high of 81.08 US cents.
The heavyweight materials sector fell further as Monday’s session progressed, in part due to falling copper and aluminium prices, to remain the biggest drag on the market.
Shares in giant BHP were down 2.06 per cent to $34.77, while Rio Tinto fell 2.06 per cent to $78.77.
Aluminium miner South32 retraced some of last week’s gains to lose 5.44 per cent on Monday, while Alumina Limited was down more than six per cent as clouds remained over Norsk Hydro’s Alunorte alumina refinery in Brazil.
The energy sector was down more than a percentage point on steadying oil prices and looming US sanctions, with Caltex one of the only in the green.
Meanwhile, banking shares have continued to drop off as chief executives prepare to face their first public grillings, beginning Thursday, over rampant misconduct and potential breaches of legislation detailed in the royal commission’s interim report.
ANZ shares have taken the biggest hit on Monday, falling 2.45 per cent to $27.04 after the lender flagged an $824 million hit to its full-year profit due to impairments and one-off expenses, more than half of it related to customer remediation.
NAB is down 1.14 per cent to $26.90, Westpac is down 0.91 per cent to $27.24, and Commonwealth Bank is down 0.94 per cent to $69.34 after announcing it would keep banking services running at Australia Post in an agreement worth $22 million a year.
Elsewhere, MYOB shares have soared by almost 20 per cent to $3.55 after private equity firm KKR & Co launched a full takeover bid, buying a 17.6 per cent stake in the cloud services provider.
US stocks are also weighing on the local market heavily following a late-week rise in Treasury yields amid strong jobs growth, with the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq all losing ground on Friday.