Australian shares closed at a seven-week high on Monday, with energy and mining stocks leading gains ahead of a much-expected rate hike from the central bank this week.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.7% higher to record their fifth straight session of gains. The benchmark ended 0.8% higher on Friday.

The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to deliver a third consecutive half-point interest rate hike in its meeting on Tuesday in a bid to temper soaring inflation, according to a Reuters poll.

"There may be not much of a reaction tomorrow after the cash rate decision," said Henry Jennings, director of equity sales at Marcustoday Financial Newsletter.

"It should not be a massive factor unless the commentary changes track."

Energy stocks jumped about 2% to hit their highest level in about a month, even as oil prices fell in Asian trade due to COVID-19 restrictions in China, the world's largest crude oil importer.

Index majors such as Woodside Energy and Santos were up 2.8% and 1.1%, respectively.

Miners edged 0.8% higher, as hopes for an increased infrastructure spending and prospects of bailout to help the troubled property sector in China soothed investor sentiment. Rio Tinto and BHP Group jumped 0.6% and 1%, respectively.

Lithium miners Lake Resources and Allkem Ltd jumped 3.1% and 4.7%

Heavyweight financials flitted in a narrow range through the session before closing 0.2% higher, even as three of the "Big Four" banks settled lower between 0.2% and 1%.

The domestic technology index shed early gains to be the only major laggard in the benchmark, with Xero Ltd and ASX-listed shares of Block Inc falling about 0.2% and 1.1%, respectively.

In corporate news, United Malt plunged nearly 17.5% after the commercial maltster cut annual core income forecast due to increased production costs and supply chain constraints in its North American processing segment.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index gained 0.3% to finish the session at 11,525.9 points.

(Reporting by Archishma Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)


Reuters