July 27 (Reuters) - Australian shares were set to open lower on Monday after the country saw a worrying spurt in its coronavirus death tally over the weekend, with rising Chinese-U.S. diplomatic tensions deepening the gloom. Beijing ordered the United States to shut its consulate in Chengdu on Friday in response to Washington's directive to close China's Houston consulate as relations between the two economic heavyweights took a turn for the worse. The local share price index futures fell 0.45%, a 52-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark fell 1.16% on Friday. New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.4% by 2211 GMT. (Reporting by Arpit Nayak; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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