Australia shares fall, biggest one-day drop in 4 weeks; Cyprus concerns
(Updates to close)
SYDNEY, March 18 (Reuters) - Australian shares dropped 2.1 percent on Monday, its largest one day drop in 4 weeks as uncertainty over the impact of a proposed bank bailout for Cyprus and weak metal prices hit blue chip miners and financials.
Westpac Banking Corp led broad-based losses in the banking sector, slumping 3 percent.
Global iron ore miners BHP Billiton Ltd plumbed 2.4 percent while rival Rio Tinto Ltd lost 2.9 percent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index declined 104.8 points to close at 5,015.4, its largest one day drop since February 21, according to the latest data. The benchmark added 1.8 percent on Friday, its biggest one-day rise in eight months.
In a radical departure from previous rescue packages, euro zone finance ministers want to tap Cyprus' savers in order for the country to receive a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) bailout, triggering a run on cash after its announcement on Saturday morning.
The bailout plan rattled investors, sending regional stock markets and commodities down on worries of a renewed crisis in the euro zone.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index fell 1 percent, or 46 points to 4,341. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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