Australia shares close lower for 4th week, lose 3 pct for January

Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:28am EST

(Updates to close)

SYDNEY Jan 31 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed flat on Friday after weak metals prices undercut an uptick in private sector credit, and posted their first January loss in four years in a patchy start to the year.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended the day 2 points higher at 5,190.0 and fell 1 percent for the week, its fourth consecutive week of losses.

Australia's share market shed 3 percent in January as investors sold out of equities on slowing growth in China and as the U.S. Federal Reserve continued to taper its bond-buying programme.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.5 percent or 24.7 points to finish the session at 4,874.6. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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