On the back of concerns about a US rate hike, Australian shares fell more than one-month low

On Thursday, Australian shares fell to a more than one-month low, driven by losses in the financial index, as the prospect of another rate hike in the United States and slowing growth in China weakened investor confidence.

S&P/ASX 200 index.AXJO fell 0.7% to 7,146 points, its lowest level since July 7. On Wednesday, the benchmark slipped 1.5%.

The global sell-off continued as minutes from the Fed’s July rate-setting meeting revealed that officials were divided on the necessity for additional interest rate hikes, despite the fact that “most” policymakers identified managing inflation as their top priority.

Ongoing concerns about the state of the Chinese economy continued to weigh on the market, as the recent rate decrease did little to limit the stock market’s drop. Investors are concerned about decreasing use of fuel in the world’s two largest economies. 

In Australia, employment surprisingly lowered in July, finishing off two months of exceptional growth, while joblessness grew. 

On the local stock exchange, the financial .AXFJ sub-index fell over 1%, its lowest day in two weeks. All big banks suffered losses ranging from 0.2% to 2.1%.

“Investors in U.S. banks remain on edge over tighter regulations and possible downgrades from credit rating agencies – a sentiment felt today in the ASX200 financial sector,” said Tony Sycamore, a market analyst at IG Markets, in a note.

Miners.AXMM also dropped by 0.6%.

Rio Tinto RIO.AX and Fortescue Metals FMG.AX dropped by 1.1% and 0.3%, respectively. 

Despite low oil prices, AXEJ finished 0.4% higher as investors waited for additional Chinese stimulus. 

Telstra Group TLS.AX slid to a five-month low soon after the company chose not to sell a stake in InfraCo Fixed. 

The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index .NZ50 in New Zealand fell 0.95% to 11,651.58 points.