November 13, 2019 / 5:53 AM / a month ago

Australia shares drop on U.S.-China trade talk uncertainty; NZ down

* Financials, miners, energy pressure benchmark

* Trump’s speech offers few new clues on trade talks

* NZ down as c.bank surprises, holds interest rates steady (Updates to close)

By Nikhil Subba

Nov 13 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell on Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump offered no new details on trade talks with China, leaving investors on edge over whether the two sides will be able to reach a partial agreement that could defuse a major risk to global growth.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell about 0.8%, or 54.7 points, to 6,698.30 at the close of trade. The benchmark fell 0.3% on Tuesday.

In a highly anticipated speech at the Economic Club of New York on Tuesday, Trump offered little detail on the progress of a phase one trade deal. Rumors early on Tuesday that Trump might announce a venue and date for signing a trade deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping proved unfounded.

However, Trump emphasised that he would raise tariffs on Chinese goods “very substantially” if China does not make a deal with the United States.

“The market response seems to be a fair summary of the content of the speech,” Robert Carnell, head of research at ING Asia-Pacific, said in a note to clients.

Australia’s financial sub-index fell 1.2% and led losses on the benchmark, with all of the “big four” lenders closing the session in negative territory.

Fund manager Netwealth Group fell 5.6% after it said it expects its fiscal year 2020 core earnings margin to be lower than last year’s level.

The metals and mining sub-index shed about 1% to its lowest in over a week.

The world’s two largest miners BHP Group and Rio Tinto fell 0.8% and 1.7%, respectively.

Data showed iron ore shipments to China from Australia’s Port Hedland terminal, the world’s biggest iron ore port, slipped 0.7% in October from a month earlier.

Energy stocks shed 1% on lower global oil prices. Top oil and gas producers Santos and Woodside Petroleum Ltd slipped 0.6% and 1%, respectively.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.8%, or 90.88 points, to 10,835.43, after the central bank unexpectedly left interest rates unchanged at 1%.

A rate cut to 0.75% was widely expected. (Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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