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The local market started the week in negative territory, closing the session down 0.42% as a sharp sell-off in energy stocks weighed on the key index driven by commodity prices plunging. Oil retreated to its lowest level since 2021 today, amid unrest in China as large crowds gathered in Shanghai, Beijing and Wuhan to protest over the harsh COVID-19 restrictions in the region. Sentiment in the oil market has remained a key focus in recent times amid concerns over demand in China, the world’s largest importer of crude oil. The price of oil has also been impacted in recent days as the EU continues to negotiate over a price cap on Russian oil. Across the other commodities, gold is trading 0.31% lower at US$1750 per ounce, while iron ore is up 2.53% at US$101.50 per tonne.
RBA governor Philip Lowe has this morning apologised to Australians who took out mortgages expecting interest rates to stay unchanged through 2024. Mr Lowe said the RBA had failed by not making it clear that its commentary about steady interest rates was heavily conditional on the state of the economy.
Investors continued selling out of lithium stocks today on concerns demand for electric vehicles in China is weakening after EV registrations in China plummeted by more than a fifth in October from September.
The winning stocks today were led by New Hope Corporation (ASX:NHC) adding 5.4%, Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) rallying almost 4% and Brickworks (ASX:BKW) ending the day up 3.2%. And on the losing end, Healius (ASX:HLS) took the biggest hit today, falling just over 10%, while Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) and Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS) each fell 7.5% and 6.5% respectively.
Preliminary retail sales data for October out today shows consumer spending has declined for the first time in 2022, with sales down 0.2% on September in a sign rising interest rates are starting to have an impact on consumer spending which in-turn is part of the RBA’s goal to cool the nation’s inflation.
The Aussie dollar is buying 66.85 US cents, 55.85 British Pence, 92.61 Japanese Yen and NZ$1.08.