5:30 PM Sydney – Australian market indexes and the Aussie dollar weakened after the latest inflation data showed weakening consumer prices. The annual inflation rate declined the most at the end of March quarter from the previous rate in December in four decades.
Australian market indexes closed down after the annual inflation rate decline the most at the end of March from the previous quarter ending in December.
The consumer price index in the March quarter rose 0.2% following a rise of 0.2% in the December quarter, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said today.
The inflation jumped to 1.3% in the 12-month period ending in March compared to increase of 1.7% through the year to the December.
The annual rate decline was the largest since the record keeping began in September 1973, the statistics bureau said.
Only a day ago, the RBA minutes of meeting suggested that policy makers are looking to ease rate if additional economic data suggest a need.
Australian dollar closed at 77.66 U.S. cents and in stock trading turnover increased to 714 million shares worth $4.8 billion.
At close, the ASX 200 Index dropped 34.80 or 0.6% to 5,837.50 and the broader All Ordinaries Index slumped 31.20 to 5,812.80.
In commodities trading, gold climbed US$8 to US$1,203 an ounce and Brent crude fell 0.60 cents to close at US$61.48 a barrel.
360 Capital Total Return Fund
soared 8% to $1.35 after the investment and real estate developer priced its stock at $1.25. The stock opened and closed at $1.35.
Eclipx Group Limited
climbed 2.9% to $2.78 after the fleet management and car financing company priced 110 million shares at $2.30 a share and raised $253 million.
The stock opened at $2.70 and closed at $2.78.
Australian Stock Movers
BHP Billiton Limited
declined 1.1% to $30.27 after the mining company reported iron ore production in the quarter ending in March soared 20% to 59 million tons and raised its full-year production outlook to 2% increase to 230 million tons.
The company said petroleum production climbed 6% to a record 193 million barrels of oil equivalent and estimated petroleum production in fiscal 2015 to remain unchanged at 255 million barrels of oil equivalent.
Copper production jumped 2% to 1.3 million tons and total iron ore production surged 17% to a record 172 million tons.
The company added iron ore production from Western Australia based mines soared 16% to a record 188 million tons and estimated production to rise to 250 million tons for the 2015 financial year.
Independence Group NL
dropped 2.6% to $5.66 after the nickel, copper and zinc explorer reported total revenues in the third-quarter ending in March plunged 16% to $105.5 million from $125.6 million in a year ago period.
Net profit in the quarter slumped 2%to $19.8 million compared to $20.2 million in the same period a year ago.
The miner said gold production in the quarter was 36,696 ounces and the miner sold 32,542 ounces.
Copper production in the quarter declined to 5,931 tons and production of zinc in concentrate fell to 34,778 tons from a year ago period.
rose 0.3% to $1.74 after the gold and copper miner lifted its full-year production outlook and said the company has reduced the mining costs
Separately, the rejected a $1.1 billion takeover approach from a state-owned Chinese company.
National Australia Bank Ltd
slipped 1.2% to $38.11 after the bank plans to reduce its stake in Great Western Bancorp, the U.S. based agriculture industry focused bank.