Jan 21 (Reuters) - Australian shares skidded on Friday to
wrap up their worst week in more than a year, weighed down by
miners as Whitehaven Coal slumped after cutting its 2022
forecast and Rio Tinto fell after Serbia revoked its lithium
The resources-heavy S&P/ASX200 closed 2.3% lower at
7,175.80, after hitting its lowest since Sept. 29 earlier in the
session. It fell 3% this week, its biggest since late October
Miners plunged 3.8%, closing the week lower after
eight straight weeks of gains. The drop came after the vast
mining state of Western Australia cancelled plans to reopen its
borders on Feb. 5, citing risks from the Omicron COVID-19
Steven Daghlian, a market analyst at CommSec, said
profit-taking after recent gains in mining stocks also weighed.
Shares of Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue
shed between 2.1% and 4.8%.
Serbia cancelled Rio Tinto's exploration licences on
environmental grounds, while BHP investors in London and Sydney
approved plans to scrap its dual listing on Thursday.
Energy stocks sank 3% in their worst session since
Dec. 20, giving up all gains made this week as crude prices fell
from seven-year highs.
Whitehaven Coal, Australia's largest independent
coal miner, declined 6%.
Tech stocks slid 2.3%, tracking their U.S. peers
lower after a rebound on Wall Street fizzled overnight with the
Federal Reserve's policy tightening on the horizon.
Computershare and Altium retreated 2.3%
and 3.3% respectively.
Daghlian said next week's Reserve Bank of Australia meeting
would be crucial to assess the central bank's tone on inflation,
while the Fed's impending rate hike had instilled "degree of
pessimism in the markets overall."
New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 index slid 1.2% to finish
(Reporting by Upasana Singh; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)