Wires

Australia shares slip; iron ore gains buoy miners

MELBOURNE, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares slipped 0.3percent on Wednesday, pulling back from 14-month highs after theIMF cut its growth forecasts for a second time, sending sharesaround most of the region lower.

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The local market was buoyed as benchmark iron ore

climbed 6 percent to $117.20 a tonne, its highestsince Aug. 1, according to data provider Steel Index, takinggains to 12.5 percent over the past two days.

.Miners and BHP Billitonand Rio Tintobothended a touch higher.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index

fell 14.7 points to4,490.7, according to the latest available data. It rose 0.5percent to 4,505.3 on Tuesday.

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.

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(Reporting by Miranda Maxwell; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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

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