SYDNEY, AAP – Surging commodity prices and the prospect of banks charging higher rates have helped the ASX to its best month in the past 16.

The Australian market slipped lower in the final minutes of trading on Thursday but ended March with gains of 6.39 per cent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 14.9 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7499.6.

The index was a little more than 100 points from its record of August.

The All Ordinaries index was lower by 10.3 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 7789.6.

For the month, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine increased demand for commodities from countries such as Australia.

The US Federal Reserve raised rates for the first time since 2018 and the Reserve Bank is tipped to follow this year.

The Australian dollar was buying 74.85 US cents at 1620 AEDT, lower from 75.25 US cents at Wednesday’s close.