Australia shares edge up, miners rise on firmer metal prices

(Updates to open)

CANBERRA, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Australian shares inched up 0.1 percent early on Friday as a rebound in metal prices lifted index-heavy mining stocks.

Global miner BHP Billiton Ltd gained 0.5 percent and major rival Rio Tinto Ltd rose more than 1 percent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index

had added 2.7 points to 4,486.2 by 2317 GMT, but remained below 14-month highs hit earlier this week. It fell 0.2 percent on Thursday to 4,483.5, its second straight day of losses.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index

climbed 0.1 percent to 3,889.0 in early trade.

(Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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