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FIVE at FIVE AU: ASX recovers some losses as Aussies hang in there

Published 22/03/2024, 03:28 pm
© Reuters.  FIVE at FIVE AU: ASX recovers some losses as Aussies hang in there

After hitting its lows early this afternoon, the ASX 200 has recovered some losses to close down 0.24%, amid sharp falls in the Energy sector offset against a jump in Real Estate and Healthcare stocks. The benchmark index did, however, end the week higher.

Energy stocks fell in response to a drop in the oil price — Woodside Energy lost 1.8% and Ampol fell 1%. Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) also weighed on the sector, falling 2.8%.

Gold stocks performed poorly too after the gold price pulled back from record highs to around US$2,180 per ounce. Bellevue Gold lost 4.7% and Genesis Minerals (ASX:ASX:GMD) fell 6%.

Yet the rare earth sector received some promising news with the US pledging $1.28 billion in support for ASX-listed rare earths companies as it seeks to diversify the global supply chain and reduce dependence on China.

Meteoric Resources and Australian Strategic Materials received preliminary "letters of interest" from the US Export-Import Bank (US EXIM), indicating potential future loans at concessional rates.

Read more: US pledges $1.28 billion to bolster ASX rare earths sector

Also of note is Reddit Inc’s highly successful IPO on the NYSE overnight, hitting the top of its marketed range with a A$1.1 billion (US$748 million) raising.

Read more: Reddit IPO exceeds all expectations with A$1.1 billion valuation; stock jumps 48% on first day of trading

Aussies are hanging in there

The RBA has provided insights into Australia's financial stability, noting that despite the economic strain of high inflation and interest rates, the majority of borrowers have maintained their debt repayments.

According to the RBA's financial stability review, this trend will likely continue, even as household budgets face ongoing pressure.

The report states, "High inflation and interest rates have put pressure on household budgets over the past two years, but nearly all borrowers continue to service their debts on schedule. This is expected to remain the case even if budgets are under pressure for some time.”

The RBA also highlighted the limited impact of potential defaults on lenders, as "Few borrowers are in negative equity on their mortgage."

Nevertheless, there is an increase in the number of individuals, including wage earners and mortgagors, seeking support from community organisations, as revealed by the RBA’s liaison program.

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