Australia shares record worst week in more than a year as miners drag

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Jan 21 (Reuters) - Australian shares skidded on Friday to wrap up their worst week in more than a year, weighed down by miners as Whitehaven Coal slumped after cutting its 2022 forecast and Rio Tinto fell after Serbia revoked its lithium exploration licences.

The resources-heavy S&P/ASX200 (.AXJO) closed 2.3% lower at 7,175.80, after hitting its lowest since Sept. 29 earlier in the session. It fell 3% this week, its biggest since late October 2020.

Miners (.AXMM) plunged 3.8%, closing the week lower after eight straight weeks of gains. The drop came after the vast mining state of Western Australia cancelled plans to reopen its borders on Feb. 5, citing risks from the Omicron COVID-19 variant. read more

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Steven Daghlian, a market analyst at CommSec, said profit-taking after recent gains in mining stocks also weighed.

Shares of Rio Tinto (RIO.AX), BHP (BHP.AX) and Fortescue (FMG.AX) shed between 2.1% and 4.8%.

Serbia cancelled Rio Tinto's exploration licences on environmental grounds, while BHP investors in London and Sydney approved plans to scrap its dual listing on Thursday. read more

Energy stocks (.AXEJ) sank 3% in their worst session since Dec. 20, giving up all gains made this week as crude prices fell from seven-year highs.

Whitehaven Coal (WHC.AX), Australia's largest independent coal miner, declined 6%. read more

Tech stocks (.AXIJ) slid 2.3%, tracking their U.S. peers lower after a rebound on Wall Street fizzled overnight with the Federal Reserve's policy tightening on the horizon.

Computershare (CPU.AX) and Altium (ALU.AX) retreated 2.3% and 3.3% respectively.

Daghlian said next week's Reserve Bank of Australia meeting would be crucial to assess the central bank's tone on inflation, while the Fed's impending rate hike had instilled "degree of pessimism in the markets overall."

New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 index (.NZ50) slid 1.2% to finish at 12,348.00.

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Reporting by Upasana Singh; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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