METALS-Copper prices fall as Chinese demand doubts persist

January 31 (Reuters)Copper prices fell on Tuesday as traders exercised caution after physical demand in China, the world’s biggest consumer of the metals, remained flat after a week-long holiday.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange CMCU3 was down 0.2% at $9,195 a tonne at 0301 GMT, while the most traded copper contract in March on the Shanghai Futures Exchange SCFcv1 fell 0.2% to 69,570 yuan ($10,301.02) a ton.

Both copper contracts, however, are still set for a monthly gain, supported by a weaker US dollar, increased inflows and hopes that Chinese demand for the metal will improve after its restrictions are removed. restrictions related to COVID-19.

China’s manufacturing activity back to growth in January, exceeding expectations, as a wave of COVID-19 infections crossed the country faster than expected.

LME aluminum CMAL3 fell 0.8% to $2,570 a tonne, zinc CMZN3 fell 0.3% to $3,435.50 a ton, tin CMSN3 lost 1.4% to $29,400 a tonne while lead CMPB3 rose 0.4% to $2,169 per tonne.

SHFE aluminum SAFcv1 fell 0.8% to 18,920 yuan per ton, tin SSNcv1 fell 1.4% to 235,390 yuan per ton, lead SPBcv1 fell 0.3% to 15,245 yuan a ton while zinc SZNcv1 rose 0.8% to 24,480 yuan per ton.

Nickel SHFE SNIcv1 rose 1.2% to 221,930 yuan per ton. Earlier in the session, it hit 223,290 yuan a ton, its highest level in 3.5 weeks, after Bloomberg reported that the Philippines could tax nickel exports.

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($1 = 6.7537 yuan)

(Reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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