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Australian shares look set to open sharply lower after key markets around the globe tumble, with the worst falls on Wall Street.

At 0700 AEDT on Tuesday, the share price futures index was down 88 points, or 1.48 per cent, at 5,873.

Key equity markets in the US, Europe, Britain and Asia – bar China – have all declined sharply, with Wall Street the worst performer.

US stocks’ losses accelerated in afternoon trading, pushing the S&P 500 down more than 5 per cent from its January 26 record high and the Dow below 25,000 for the first time since January 4.

The Dow and S&P 500 also fell below their 50-day moving averages, while the Cboe Volatility index was on pace for its largest one-day jump since August 2015.

In late trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 806.76 points, or 3.16 per cent, at 24,714.20, the S&P 500 had lost 82.90 points, or 3.00 per cent, to 2,679.23 and the Nasdaq Composite had dropped 146.55 points, or 2.02 per cent, to 7,094.40.

Locally, in economic news on Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia holds its monthly board meeting and announces its interest rate decision.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics releases December retail trade figures, plus international trade in goods and services data, also for December.

Meanwhile, the ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence weekly survey is due out.

No major equities news is expected.

The Australian market on Monday lost around $33 billion after a sharp fall in US markets last Friday sent local investors running for the exits.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 95.2 points, or 1.56 per cent, to 6,026.2 points while the broader All Ordinaries index tumbled 101.4 points, or 1.63 per cent, to 6,128.4 points.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is slowly continuing to decline against its US counterpart.

The Aussie was trading at 79.00 US cents at 0700 AEDT on Tuesday, compared to 79.37 US cents on Monday.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 79.00 US cents, from 79.39 on Monday

* 86.67 Japanese yen, from 87.26 yen

* 63.72 euro cents, from 63.71 euro cents

* 56.44 British pence, from 56.20 pence

* 108.57 NZ cents, from 108.63 cents


The spot price of gold in Sydney at 0700 AEDT was $US1,334.09 per fine ounce, from $US1,332.25 per fine ounce on Monday.


* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 2.0565pct, unchanged

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.8874pct, unchanged

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.115 (implying a yield of 2.885pct), from 97.065 (implying a yield of 2.935pct) on Monday

* March 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.805 (2.195pct), from 97.77 (2.23pct).

(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)