SYDNEY, AAP – Heavy losses have continued for the iron ore giants and the ASX closed lower for a fourth consecutive day.

BHP and Fortescue each lost more than six per cent as China’s reduced appetite for steel causes the iron ore price to keep falling. BHP shares have lost more than 13 per cent in the past two days.

Rio Tinto, another iron ore miner, had its shares decline by more than five per cent.

Energy shares were also down on Thursday. Coronavirus outbreaks around the world have lowered demand for travel and oil.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed lower by 37.5 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 7464.6.

The All Ordinaries closed down 35.4 points, or 0.46 per cent, to 7735.3.

The Australian dollar was buying 71.89 US cents at 1620 AEST, lower than 72.62 US cents at Wednesday’s close.