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LONDON: Copper prices fell on Wednesday as weak Chinese economic data added to signs of low demand and ample supply, taking the heat out of a recent rally.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 1.2% at $8,272.50 a tonne at 1707 GMT.

Prices had surged to a five-month high of $8,600 on Monday - up 15% since the start of November - on hopes that China would abandon its zero-COVID policy and US interest rate rises would slow, lifting economic growth and metals demand.

But new home prices in China fell at their fastest pace in more than seven years in October, according to data on Wednesday that underscored deepening contraction in the construction sector and followed weak manufacturing data on Tuesday.

China is by far the biggest metals consumer and COVID-19 cases are rising there, raising fears of wider lockdowns that would hamper economic activity.

Meanwhile, China’s yuan weakened against the dollar, making dollar-priced metals costlier for local buyers.

Chinese copper import premiums have tumbled to $102.50 a tonne from $144.50 last week, suggesting lower demand for overseas metal.

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