Wires

Australia shares retreat on lower regional growth forecasts

* S&P/ASX 200 indexdown 14.7 points to 4,490.7

* Newcrest Mining slips 1.3 percent as bullion weakens

* Miners buoyed as iron ore price extends gains

MELBOURNE, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares pulled backfrom 14-month highs on Wednesday as lower growth forecasts forChina and other regional economies by the International MonetaryFund wiped off gains made by miners on higher iron ore prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index

lost 0.3 percent toclose at 4,490.7 points, according to the latest available data.On Tuesday, the index gained 0.5 percent.

The IMF said earlier this week that China's economic growthis expected to weaken to 7.8 percent this year and warned ofrisks to emerging Asia if the euro zone crisis worsens and theUnited States does not avoid its "fiscal cliff".

China is Australia's top export market for resources, whichon Wednesday received a boost after the benchmark iron ore

climbed 6 percent to the highest level since Aug.1,.Miners and BHP Billitonand Rio Tintobothended a touch higher.

"Recent sharp rises in the price of iron ore stood thebellwether miners in good stead, and this was able to have anoffsetting affect to a degree on the negative sentiment stemmingfrom the IMF downgrades which adversely affected the broadermarket," said Tim Waterer, trader at CMC Markets.

Worries about weak corporate earnings, which led to a fallin U.S. stocks overnight, also weighed on the Australian boursewhich has been up 9 percent over the past three months.

"It has been a good run and there are sellers looking tolock in 9 or 10 percent. We're in a low-growth environment, soif you can get close to a double-digit return you might as welltry to lock that in," said Winston Sammut, investment directorat Maxim Asset Management.

Sammut said the 4,500-level was viewed as a short-term topby some investors.

"I don't think there is currently the conviction to kick itup any further," he said.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index

fell 0.5percent to 3,888.1

New Zealand's budget deficit improvement fell short offorecasts, underscoring the government's challenge of returningto surplus in three years.

.

Gold producer Newcrest Mining

fell 1.3 percent toA$28.12 after the price of the precious metal fell for a thirdday on worries about a global slowdown. Rival St Barbara

fell 2.3 percent.Aluminarose 2.3 percent to A$0.90 after AlcoaInc'sthird-quarter profit beat Wall Street'sexpectations

. Alumina holds 40 percent of AlcoaWorld Alumina & Chemicals (AWAC), the world's largest aluminabusiness. U.S.-based Alcoa owns 60 percent.

Woodside Petroleumrose 1.6 percent to A$34.10after oil prices rose offshore.

(Reporting by Miranda Maxwell; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

((miranda.maxwell@reuters.com)(Reuters Messaging:miranda.maxwell.reuters.com@reuters.net)(+61-3 9286-1464))

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