Oct 2 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed lower on Monday, led by financial and energy stocks, as investors took a cautious stance ahead of the key interest rate decision by the country's central bank.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.2% to 7,048.60. The benchmark rose 0.3% on Friday.
The Reserve Bank of Australia is scheduled to announce its interest rate decision on Tuesday amid expectations that it would hold its key interest rate steady at 4.10% but hike it to a peak of 4.35% next quarter, a Reuters poll of economists showed.
Although the country's inflation data from August came in line with expectations, rising 5.2% in the year to August mostly driven by a surge in fuel prices, economists see one more rate hike before the end of the year.
"The Aussie share market is holding its steps cautiously ahead of Tuesday's RBA decision," said Glenn Yinn, head of research and analysis at AETOS Capital Group.
"While markets are largely expecting another pause, the focus will fall on the rhetoric of RBA's new governor - with global energy prices rising sharply and 'longer for higher' (rates) from the Fed, local equities could face more headwinds," added Yinn.
In Sydney, the energy index fell 0.4% hurt by last week's decline in crude prices.
Financials declined 0.3%, with all the "big four" banks falling between 0.1% and 0.7%.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.5% to end at 11,296.43.
The country's central bank is also scheduled to give out its interest rate decision on Wednesday, with a Reuters poll estimating that the bank would hold its key interest rate at 5.50%.
"While we don't think the RBNZ will move the OCR (official cash rate) from the current 5.5% setting, we do see the tone of the RBNZ shifting further in the direction of increased inflation concern," analysts at Westpac said in a note. (Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Eileen Soreng)
Sumber : Reuters
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