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HANOI: Industrial metals prices fell on Monday on fears of a pullback in top consumer China after its premier stressed the need to strengthen control of commodity prices that have hurt businesses.

The most-traded June nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was down 3.8% at 122,050 yuan ($18,629.61) a tonne by 0613 GMT, while three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange declined 2.8% to $16,160 a tonne.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stressed the need to strengthen market regulation of raw materials to ease the cost pressure of enterprises amid rising global commodities prices, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.

“Comments from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang weighed on markets as it is the second time in just a few days top officials talk about cost controls after last year’s surge in commodity prices,” said commodities broker Anna Stablum in a note.

Stablum was referring to Chinese vice-premier Liu He’s remarks last week calling to stabilise prices, after the country’s factory gate prices beat analyst forecast to rise at their fastest annual pace in nearly three years.

Other metals also declined.

LME copper fell 1.1% to $8,827.50 a tonne, zinc was down 1.4% at $2,789.50 a tonne, while tin decreased 1.6% to $25,340 a tonne.

In Shanghai, copper declined 1.7% to 65,740 yuan a tonne, zinc fell 2.2% to 21,530 yuan a tonne, while tin dropped 3.2% to 176,920 yuan a tonne.

Yangshan copper premium fell to $51 a tonne, its lowest since Nov. 20, while inventories in LME and ShFE warehouses remained elevated.

Miners will think twice before splashing out on major new projects even as copper prices have soared to decade-long highs this year, Chile’s Antofagasta chief executive told Reuters.

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