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LONDON: Copper prices edged up on Thursday after the US central bank signalled a pause on rate hikes, but gains were subdued as the dollar climbed and investors worried about demand in top metals consumer China.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange added 0.4% to $8,501 a tonne by 1415 GMT, snapping two sessions of losses.

Copper pared gains in the European afternoon and other metals deepened losses as the dollar index strengthened after the European Central Bank eased its pace of rate hikes.

A firmer dollar makes commodities priced in the US currency more expensive for buyers using other currencies.

The US Federal Reserve opened the door to a pause in its aggressive tightening cycle on Wednesday after hiking interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point.

“Commodities have taken some cheer from those Fed comments, but it all seems rather muted,” said independent consultant Robin Bhar.

Citi analysts said they were bearish on copper and downgraded their 0-3-month LME price forecast to $8,000 a tonne, from $8,500 a tonne previously.

Nickel went into the red after earlier outperforming, supported by tight inventories. It slid 2.8% to $24,040 a tonne, after touching an intraday high of $25,220.

Nickel stocks in SHFE warehouses fell to a record low of 1,426 tonnes on Friday, while LME levels dropped to 39,630 tonnes, the weakest in 15-1/2 years, data showed on Thursday.

LME aluminium eased 1.1% to $2,295.50 a tonne after earlier touching a six-week low, zinc dipped 0.1% to $2,627, lead dropped 1.3% to $2,104 and tin tumbled 3.9% to $25,730.

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