The Australian share market closed lower after spending the day swinging between gains and losses on Thursday, 21 May 2020, snapping four sessions winning streak, as investors sentiment turned circumspect, due to Chinese trade tensions with Washington and Australia worsened over the coronavirus, trade and Beijing's technology ambitions.
At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index declined 22.61 points, or 0.41%, to 5,550.43. The broader All Ordinaries dropped 19.28 points, or 0.34%, to 5,660.86.
Stocks surrendered their recent gains on heightened fears about China's tensions with Washington and Australia over the coronavirus, trade and Beijing's technology ambitions. China has blocked beef imports from four Australian suppliers in possible retaliation for Australia's support for an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, the tensions between the United States and China heightened over the way Beijing dealt with the coronavirus outbreak in the initial stage, after U. S. President Donald Trump blamed China for waging a massive disinformation campaign in his latest Twitter post.
Also, the Trump administration has stepped up a feud over Beijing's industrial ambitions by tightening controls on use of U. S. technology by tech giant Huawei.
Materials and resources stocks declined on fears of Chinese restrictions on the country's iron ore exports. China, Australia's largest trading partner, on Wednesday announced changes to the inspection process for its iron ore imports, a move traders and analysts speculate could spill onto another important Australian export coal. Tensions between the two countries have heightened recently over Australia's support for an international probe into the origin of the novel coronavirus. Global miners Rio Tinto and BHP Group lost 1% and 0.6%, respectively, while iron ore giant Fortescue Metals Group dropped over 2%.
CURRENCY NEWS: The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6562 after seeing an earlier high of $0.6599.
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