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LONDON: Lead prices hit a seven-week high on Thursday as inventories slumped amid worries about smelter shutdowns, while zinc rose after the London Metal Exchange (LME) imposed restrictions on metal from a Russian company.

Trading was choppy as investors also tried to factor in potential loss of demand from aggressive increases to interest rates to curb inflation.

A stronger dollar index also weighed on the market, making commodities priced in the US currency more expensive for buyers using other currencies.

Three-month LME lead gained as much as 2.8% to $2,093.50 a tonne in volatile trading for its highest since Aug. 18, paring gains to rise 0.3% at $2,042 by 1605 GMT.

“The supply side shocks are just reverberating,” said Nitesh Shah, commodity strategist at WisdomTree.

“The OPEC announcement is just adding fuel to the energy crisis that was already raging. Smelters may shut down more of their operations and mining operations are going to be more difficult.” OPEC+ agreed steep oil production cuts on Wednesday.

Nyrstar said on Tuesday that it would shut its Port Pirie lead smelter in Australia for 55 days and a source told Reuters that Glencore was reviewing the sustainability of lead operations at its Portovesme plant in Italy.

Available lead inventories in LME-approved warehouses tumbled by 44% to 15,600 tonnes, the lowest in three decades, after owners of metal notified the exchange they wanted to remove their material, LME data showed on Thursday.

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