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LONDON: Tin prices fell by almost 15% on Friday, taking losses this week to about 25%, as investors fear that slowing economic growth will reduce demand for the metal used in solder for electronics.

Industrial metals more broadly have sold off as central banks turn increasingly hawkish in the battle against decades-high inflation, raising fears that higher interest rates will stifle growth.

Demand in China, the biggest metals consumer, has also dipped due to coronavirus restrictions there that disrupted factory activity. Benchmark three-month tin on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 12.8% at $23,525 a tonne at 0938 GMT, after earlier falling by 14.8% within a whisker of the LME’s 15% limit on daily price moves — to $22,980, the lowest in a year.

Prices are now down more than 50% from a peak of $51,000 in March, but remain higher than in the months before the coronavirus pandemic, when tin cost around $17,000 a tonne.

Traders said the tin market was smaller and less liquid than for other metals and sell orders were therefore having a bigger effect on prices.

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