Iron ore futures, traded in Singapore, briefly fell below $US100 a tonne amid further evidence of a weakening Chinese economy. The September contract dropped 2.6 per cent to $US100.10 a tonne.
BHP dropped 2.1 per cent to $44.75, Rio Tinto tumbled 2.3 per cent to $106.52, and Fortescue Metals fell 1.8 per cent to $20.62.
The sell-off in the materials sector sent the benchmark ASX/S&P 200 Index down 63.1 points at the close, or 0.9 per cent, to 7277. The All Ords fell 0.8 per cent to 7493.1.
News that Chinese trust company Zhongzhi Enterprise Group had delayed payments to three of its clients sparked liquidity fears in the country’s ailing economy and the resulting demand for iron ore.