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The share market has lost ground as gains for materials and energy companies were offset by falls in the utilities and property trust sectors, and the Australian dollar has been boosted by strong jobs growth.
Gold prices have hovered near their lowest in nearly five months as investors awaited an expected US interest rate increase and clues from the US Federal Reserve on its plans for further rises next year.
Oil prices have slipped for a second straight day, as a slump in US crude stockpiles was offset by a larger-than-forecast rise in petrol inventories and as US crude output continued to grow to record highs.
Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe thinks bitcoin is mostly attractive to criminals and speculators but has acknowledged there could one day be an electronic Aussie dollar based on similar technology.
BHP Billiton expects to lower costs in its Australian mining operations by a further 10 per cent, and has forecast the division will deliver $US1.6 billion ($A2.2 billion) in productivity gains over the next two years.