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LONDON: Copper prices retreated on Thursday on a firmer dollar and the possibility the United States may impose more sanctions on the world’s biggest metals consumer China.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) slumped 1.8% to $8,936 a tonne by 1700 GMT after gaining 1.6% on Wednesday.

US officials and other sources told Reuters late on Wednesday the United States was sounding out close allies about the possibility of imposing new sanctions on China if Beijing provides military support to Russia for its war in Ukraine.

A firmer dollar index, buoyed by data showing a strong US jobs market, added to the pressure. A stronger US currency makes dollar-priced metals more expensive for buyers holding other currencies.

“The dollar has been quite strong over the last week and the last month. This is pushing metals down slightly,” Dan Smith, head of research at Amalgamated Metal Trading, said.

The dollar index gained 2.7% in February to mark its biggest monthly rise since September 2022.

LME three-month aluminium fell 1.3% to $2,399.50 a tonne, zinc shed 2.5% to $3,039, lead eased 0.8% to $2,124, nickel lost 2% to $24,400 and tin slid 2.8% to $24,630.

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