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LONDON: Copper fell for the first time this week on Thursday as mixed signals from the US Federal Reserve triggered investor jitters about the timing of interest rate increases, which could sap demand for metals.

Three-month benchmark copper was down 0.6% at $9,429 per tonne by 1615 GMT. Prices for the metal used in the power and construction industries have eased about 12% from a record high of $10,747.50 a tonne reached in May.

“The market is still looking at clues to see what the Fed’s temperature is with regards to rates,” said WisdomTree commodity strategist Nitesh Shah.

“The fundamentals for copper still look good, but the sentiment changed slightly with some of the hawkish comments from the Fed and the release of copper from Chinese reserves.”

The dollar hovered near a two-month high, still making copper, which is priced in the greenback, less attractive to global buyers.

Also weighing on prices was a plan by China’s state reserves administration to auction its reserves of copper, zinc and aluminium on July 5-6 in a bid to cool surging prices.

On-warrant stocks of copper in LME-registered warehouses climbed to their highest since June 2020 at 185,200 tonnes.

The amount of cancelled warrants - metal earmarked for delivery - was at 5% of total stocks, its lowest since September 2011.

Russia is preparing new export taxes for steel products, nickel, aluminium and copper which will cost their producers $2.3 billion between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31, its officials said on Thursday.

NICKEL: Indonesia is considering a plan to restrict construction of smelters producing nickel pig iron or ferronickel to optimise use of its limited ore reserves for higher-value products, a senior mining ministry official said.

LME nickel added 2% to $18,430 per tonne.

LME aluminium was flat at $2,441 a tonne, zinc was 0.6% higher at $2,910, lead gained 1.1% to $2,217, while tin rose 0.8% to $30,650.

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