REFILE-Australia shares hit over 1-month low as Victoria imposes harsh virus curbs

(Corrects dateline)

* Victoria announces movement curbs, more to come

* Financials hit lowest in two months

* Tabcorp flags impairment, lower annual earnings

By Arpit Nayak

Aug 3 (Reuters) – Australian shares fell to a more than one-month low on Monday, dragged down by financial stocks, as the country’s second-most populous state imposed its strictest movement restrictions yet to curb an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.7% at 5,888.7 by 0106 GMT, marking its lowest since June 30.

Australia’s Victoria state declared a state of emergency over the weekend and enforced a nightly curfew for the capital Melbourne, with more restrictions for the state’s businesses to be announced later on Monday.

With the Reserve Bank of Australia set to meet on Tuesday, investors will be focused on the central bank’s outlook for the economy, even though it is unlikely to move interest rates or make policy changes.

Index heavyweight financials dropped 2.7% on Monday to hit their lowest since June 3 and led declines on the benchmark, with the “Big Four” banks all losing between 2.9% and 4.1%.

Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search were the biggest losers among energy stocks as oil prices weakened on fears that impending relaxations in production cuts from OPEC and its allies would result in oversupply.

Gambling and entertainment company Tabcorp Holdings tumbled 6.2% after it said it would book a hefty impairment charge and report a smaller annual profit due to COVID-related closures.

Miners traded higher as commodity prices firmed, with BHP Group and gold explorer Newcrest Mining rising 1.1% and 2.1%, respectively.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.5% to 11,666.2.

Local shares of lenders Westpac Banking Corp and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group registered the biggest losses.

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