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Australian shares fall as losses in mining, tech stocks weigh

* Mining stocks hurt by weak iron ore prices

* Gold stocks rise after bullion prices climb

* Tilt Renewables hits record high on proposed acquisition

March 15 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell in early trade on Monday, hurt by losses among mining and technology stocks, while investors looked to the release of minutes from the central bank’s monetary policy meeting later this week.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.36% to 6,742.2 by 0015 GMT.

While the Reserve Bank of Australia will release minutes from its previous meeting at 0030 GMT on Tuesday, separately, governor Philip Lowe said on Monday the recent recovery was quick and strong while adding that the economy had “a long way to go” and business investment was yet to “click into gear”.

A subindex for mining stocks lost 1.3%, as steep falls in iron ore prices after top steelmaker China cracked down on violators of air-quality rules by steel mills weighed.

Global miners BHP Group and Rio Tinto fell 1.6% and 2.8% respectively, while iron-ore focused Fortescue Metals Group dropped 4.4%.

Tech stocks fell 1.6%, with buy-now-pay-later co Afterpay Ltd losing 4.4% and financial software maker Bravura Solutions shedding 4.1%.

Gold stocks rose 1% after bullion prices gained. The metal’s subindex also climbed after gold miner Evolution Mining acquired Canada-listed gold mine developer Battle North Gold Corp for C$343 mln ($274.99 mln).

Energy stocks rose, with oil and gas explorers Oil Search and Santos Ltd gaining 0.6% and 1.5%, respectively.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index added 0.9%, helped by gains among utility and healthcare stocks.

Wind farms operator Tilt Renewables jumped to a record high after the company said it would be acquired by a consortium for NZ$2.94 billion ($2.11 billion). ($1 = 1.2473 Canadian dollars) ($1 = 1.3908 New Zealand dollars) (Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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