Australia shares close at three-week lows as banks skid

Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:18am EST

(Updates to close)

SYDNEY Jan 13 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell 0.4 percent to three-week lows on Monday as blue-chip banking and defensive stocks lost ground, but broader losses were capped as resource stocks rose on firmer metals prices and on news that Indonesia has halted all mineral ore exports.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 20.3 points to settle at 5,292.1, its lowest point since late December. The benchmark fell 0.2 percent on Friday and lost 0.7 percent for the week.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.7 percent or 35.0 points to finish the session at 4,899.4. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Kim Coghill)