CHART: Australia's ASX 200 materials index just closed at the lowest level since May 2005

Australia’s ASX 200 materials index set an unwelcome record today.

It closed at the lowest level seen since May 26, 2005.

It’s all because of a continuing rout across the commodities complex, particularly iron ore and crude oil which have both fallen to multi-year lows.

Year to date the index has fallen 23.6%, with the decline from the index’s all time peak of 17,334.8 set on May 19, 2008 now standing at 61.5%.

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, the two largest constituents in the index, finished Tuesday’s session down 5.2% and 4.3% respectively.

Shares in BHP closed at the lowest level since July 2005 while those for Rio slid to levels last seen in April 2009.

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