Share market ends week on low as China's economy spooks global markets

The local share market has lost almost 6 per cent of its value this week, amid global concern about the Chinese economy.

The All Ordinaries index closed 19 points lower to 5,049 and the benchmark ASX 200 slipped below the 5,000 mark, to 4,990.

Share markets around the world have been spooked once again by worries about China.

The Chinese Government has been devaluing the yuan for the past nine days and there are calls in some quarters for a devaluation of 10 per cent.

It held off further devaluations today, firming the currency somewhat, but the trend has worried investors globally, and there are concerns about how it will affect Australian exports.

Also today, the Chinese Government suspended the circuit breaker it uses to stop trade on its local share markets when they fall too much.

The problem is they have used the mechanism twice in the past week, which ironically led to even more selling when the markets re-opened.

On the local market, the banking sector was in the red, with the big banks down by about 1 per cent.

But the energy sector fared better following a lift in the oil price.

Woodside lifted $1.25 to $28.19, Oil Search gained 22 cents to $6.55 and Santos was up 13 cents to $3.38.

Figures released today showed retail spending was up before Christmas with turnover increased to $24.8 billion.

It showed Australians were spending their money in cafes and restaurants but not so much at the supermarket.

In commodities, West Texas crude oil was at $US33.24 a barrel just after 5:00pm (AEDT), iron ore was $US41.70 a tonne and gold was weaker at $US1,103 an ounce.

The Australian dollar was buying 70.6 US cents and 4.65 Chinese yuan.

Source: ABC News

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