(Corrects closing figures for stocks in paragraphs 8, 10, 11 and 12)


Energy index falls 1.9%, leads losses on ASX


Gold stocks dip 0.6%


RBA minutes indicate possible rate hike in May


China GDP data beats estimates

April 18 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed lower on Tuesday, weighed by energy and gold stocks, after manufacturing activity in New York state and minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia's latest policy meeting reinforced bets for another interest rate hike in May.

The S&P/ASX 200 index finished 0.3% down at 7,360.20 points. The benchmark eked out gains of 0.3% on Monday.

Data on Monday showed the U.S. Federal Reserve's barometer of manufacturing activity in New York state increased for the first time in five months in April, cementing the case for a rate hike next month.

Minutes from the RBA's April 4 policy meeting also revealed the decision not to hike was a close call, with the board considering further tightening in May if inflation and demand failed to cool.

"The risk of a 25 basis point rate hike in May is high, particularly if the Q1 CPI release next week comes in hotter than expected," said IG Group analyst Tony Sycamore.

Still, data from China, which is a big importer of Australian goods, showed the country's gross domestic product (GDP) beat analyst forecasts in the first quarter, capping losses on the bourse.

"The hawkish element in the RBA minutes was quickly overshadowed by stronger-than-expected China GDP data," Sycamore added.

Energy stocks declined 1.9%, with sector majors Santos Ltd and Woodside Energy Group down 1.9% and 2.4%, respectively.

Gold stocks fell 0.6% after bullion prices slipped below the key $2,000 level on Monday.

Sector heavyweights Newcrest Mining Ltd and Northern Star Resources Ltd fell 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively.

Financials edged 0.1% lower, with banking major Commonwealth Bank of Australia down 0.3%. ANZ Group Holdings Ltd closed flat.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.4% lower at 11,884.1. (Reporting by Mehr Bedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema)