SYDNEY (AFP) – Shares in Australian energy companies were hammered Tuesday by plunging oil and commodity prices, with BHP hitting a five-year low and Santos at levels not seen for a decade.
Oil and gas companies were among the biggest losers on Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX200 index as the energy sector shed 4.81 per cent. It is down 22.24 per cent over the past month.
Oil prices have fallen to fresh five-year lows, battered by OPEC’s decision last month to maintain its output levels despite a global supply glut.
This weighed heavily on the Australian market, which ended 1.68 percent in the red.
Santos, one of the nation’s largest oil and gas producers, saw its shares sink another 7.23 per cent.
A credit rating downgrade by Standard and Poor’s accelerated a dramatic slide that began on November 24 and has wiped Aus$4.7 billion (US$3.87 billion) off the company’s market value.