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METALS-Copper falls as China's August imports hit over 2-year low

(Updates prices, adds details)

Sept 7 (Reuters) - London copper prices fell on Tuesday, as the metal’s August imports by top consumer China fell to their lowest since June 2019, as high prices and sluggish economic growth hit demand.

China’s copper imports declined 41% year-on-year in August, falling for the fifth straight month to 394,017 tonnes, customs data showed.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 1.3% to $9,329.50 a tonne by 0717 GMT, while the most-traded October copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed down 0.5% at 69,070 yuan ($10,697.91) a tonne.

“(The trade data) is definitely putting a dampener on price,” said Anna Stablum, commodities broker at Marex Spectron.

London copper prices have roughly traded within $9,000-$10,000 a tonne since hitting a record high of $10,747.50 per tonne in May, weighed down by slipping Chinese demand and fears of monetary policy tightening.

The European Central Bank will debate a stimulus cut on Thursday, while the Reserve Bank of Australia stuck with plans to taper its bond buying but said it would extend the timeline as the economy struggles with coronavirus lockdowns.

Copper is often used to gauge global economic health, and any policy tightening might decelerate post-pandemic recovery.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Prices for aluminium ore bauxite from Guinea hit their highest in almost 18 months in top metals consumer China on Monday as buyers fretted about supply after a coup in the West African country, though no mines reported any disruption.

* LME aluminium fell 0.6% to $2,757.50 a tonne, nickel declined 0.8% to $19,495 a tonne, lead decreased 0.4% to $2,267 a tonne while zinc rose 0.1% to $3,010.50 a tonne.

* ShFE aluminium edged up 0.4% to 21,730 yuan a tonne, nickel declined 1.5% to 145,120 yuan a tonne and lead dropped 1.1% to 14,895 yuan a tonne.

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$1 = 6.4564 yuan Reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi; Editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Rashmi Aich

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