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Falls in commodity prices were weighing heavily on the Australian market, where the S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.3 per cent.
The energy and materials sectors were each down by 1.7 per cent, led by coal producer Whitehaven Coal, which was off 6.5 per cent. Oil and gas producers Woodside Petroleum and Santos were each down by more than 2 per cent.
Oil prices tumbled by 4.8 per cent on Thursday amid persistent concerns about global oversupply.
This countered gains for Australia’s telecommunications sector where Telstra jumped as much as 5.4 per cent after the national competition watchdog ruled it would not force mobile network operators to share their networks with rivals.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.8 per cent, with PetroChina and China Shenhua Energy both down by almost 3 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.7 per cent, while the technology-focused Shenzhen Composite shed 0.5 per cent.
Japan and South Korea were closed for public holidays.