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ASX down 0.19% near noon: Australia’s GDP expands by 0.2 per cent

Australia’s gross domestic product expanded by 0.2 per cent in the fourth quarter, missing forecasts, prompting speculation that the Reserve Bank of Australia may consider adjusting interest rates despite maintaining them at 4.35 per cent in recent meetings. Expectations of a gradual economic slowdown in 2023 and 2024, alongside traders anticipating the possibility of a US rate cut by July and adjustments by other central banks, including the RBA in September, while brokers suggest that a decline in imports could indicate weakened consumption ahead of the RBA’s upcoming policy meeting on March 18-19, with a decision and press conference scheduled for March 19.

At 11:30am, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.19 per cent lower at 7,709.40.

The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 5 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Financials, up 0.57 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Information Technology, down 1.91 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ), trading 4.32 per cent higher at $5.55. It is followed by shares in Infratil (ASX:IFT) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC).

The worst-performing large cap is IGO (ASX:IGO), trading 5.05 per cent lower at $7.34. It is followed by shares in Technology One (ASX:TNE) and Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$2134.80 an ounce.

Iron ore is 0.4 per cent lower at US$117.25 a tonne.

Iron ore futures are pointing to a 1.1 per cent fall.

One Australian dollar is buying 64.97 US cents.