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Nov 30 (Reuters) - Australian shares edged lower on Wednesday as material stocks slumped in line with iron ore and steel prices ahead an OPEC meeting aimed at striking a deal to cut oil output in a bid to boost crude prices that have halved since 2014.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.3 percent, or 17 points lower,at 5,440.5.
Mining giants BHP Billiton Ltd, Rio Tinto Ltd and Fortescue Metals Group recorded their biggest intra-day percentage loss in 3 weeks, tumbling 4.1 percent, 4.4 percent and 5.3 percent respectively.
The metals and mining index suffered its biggest intra-day percentage loss in two months, losing 3.3 pct as China steel futures looked set for a record fall on liquidity worries.
Energy stocks also took a beating with index heavyweights Woodside Petroleum Ltd and Oil Search Ltd down more than 2 percent.
Oil prices have been volatile in the run up to the OPEC meeting, bouncing back on Wednesday, after a nearly 4 percent slump in the previous session.
Australia is targeting the oil and gas industry for a tax review ahead of next year’s budget, as it looks to boost revenues and collect more from multinational giants.
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index lost 0.07 percent, or 4.8 points, to finish the session at 6,896.95.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand said more restrictions on mortgage lending might be required based on fears of a debt-fuelled property bubble.
Fletcher Building Ltd and Goodman Property Trust were among the biggest losers on the benchmark, ending down 4.8 percent and 2 percent respectively. (Reporting by Hanna Paul in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)