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METALS-Copper down as Europe COVID-19 concerns push up U.S. dollar

HANOI, March 24 (Reuters) - Copper prices fell on Wednesday as concerns over rising COVID-19 cases in Europe pushed up demand for the safe-haven U.S. dollar, making greenback-priced metals more expensive to holders of other currencies.

Escalating tensions between China and the West also hit sentiment.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.6% to $8,923.50 a tonne by 0304 GMT, while the most-traded May copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange decreased 1.2% to 66,290 yuan ($10,162.19) a tonne.

The dollar index rose to a two-week high at 92.412 early in the Asian session, approaching a four-month top of 92.506 hit earlier this month.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LME nickel fell 0.4% to $16,080 a tonne, zinc dropped 1% to $2,810.50 a tonne while ShFE nickel declined 2.2% to 120,530 yuan a tonne and ShFE zinc was down 1.8% at 21,625 yuan a tonne.

* Workers at Antofagasta’s Los Pelambres copper mine in Chile have accepted a contract offer and abandoned the threat of a strike, the union said.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or

MARKETS NEWS

* Asian shares hit a two-week low, oil weakened further and the dollar neared four-month highs as coronavirus lockdowns in Europe and potential U.S. tax hikes hit risk appetite.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT)

0700 UK CPI YY Feb

0815 France Markit Mfg, Serv, Comp Flash PMI March

0830 Germany Markit Mfg, Serv, Comp Flash PMI March

0900 EU Markit Mfg, Serv, Comp Flash PMI March

0930 UK Mfg, Serv, Comp Flash PMI March

1230 US Durable Goods Feb

1345 US Markit Mfg, Serv, Comp Flash PMI March

1400 US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell gives

virtual testimony on coronavirus aid, relief,

and the Economic Security Act before Senate

Banking Committee

1500 EU Consumer Confid. Flash March

$1 = 6.5232 yuan Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Devika Syamnath

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