Australia shares gain as RBA hints at easing cash rate

* New Zealand down after 11 consecutive sessions of gains

* RBA likely to lower cash rate by 15 bps - Goldman Sachs

* Miners hit over 3-wk high; Whitehaven Coal tops benchmark

Oct 15 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Thursday after the central bank signalled it was considering an interest rate cut, while New Zealand stocks looked set to snap their 11-session winning streak.

The S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 0.61% to 6,216.7 by 0016 GMT, led by mining, financials and energy stocks.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was down 0.5% to 12,476.07, after adding 6.8% since September-end in the run-up to Oct. 17 elections.

Market participants in Australia cheered central bank Governor Philip Lowe’s remarks that its board was mulling options to support jobs and businesses, adding that it felt monetary easing would become more effective as coronavirus curbs were lifted.

Goldman Sachs said in a note that the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) dovish tone indicates it may lower the cash rate by 15 basis points to 0.1% and announce a new A$100 billion ($71.4 billion) quantitative easing programme to reduce long-term yields at its November meeting.

The central banker’s remarks sent the Australian dollar sliding to a one-week low of $0.7129 against the greenback.

Leading gains on the benchmark index, the metals and mining index jumped 1.7% to its highest in more than three weeks.

Rio Tinto, the world’s largest iron ore miner, firmed 2% a day before its quarterly production results, while rival BHP Group Ltd added 3.6%.

Financials stocks, which account for a major chunk of the index, rose 0.3%.

Westpac Banking Corp and National Australia Bank , two of the “Big Four” lenders, gained 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively.

Energy stocks climbed on the back of an overnight jump in crude prices and Whitehaven Coal’s near 7% surge.

The country’s biggest independent coal producer, Whitehaven Coal, rallied to the top of the ASX200 index after reporting strong quarterly coal production and sales.

On the New Zealand bourse, A2 Milk Company Ltd and Vista Group International Ltd were the top percentage losers, down 2.71% and 2.6% respectively.

$1 = 1.4004 Australian dollars Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu