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METALS-Copper falls as U.S. tax hike threats outweigh demand prospects from China

(Updates prices, recasts)

HANOI, March 30 (Reuters) - Copper prices fell in a range-bound session on Tuesday, as investors weighed the prospects of a possible tax hike in the United States and expected rising demand from top consumer China.

A U.S. tax hike is likely to translate into a firmer dollar, which in turns make greenback-priced more expensive and less appealing to holders of other currencies.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.5% to $8,819 a tonne by 0746 GMT, after rising as much as 0.7% earlier in the session. The most-traded May copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed down 0.9% at 65,880 yuan ($10,022.82) a tonne.

“(Copper) has gotten into a strong support base. The peak period for industrial (players) to restock and run down their inventories already started in March,” said a Singapore-based metals trader.

Chinese copper demand usually strengthens in the traditionally strong second quarter, while low treatment charges for copper concentrate due to limited mined supplies also supported prices.

“The next big one (good news) is the infrastructure bill, but the bad news to counter that is the raising of tax that (U.S. President Joe) Biden is talking about,” the trader added.

Investors were looking forward to details of a large U.S. infrastructure bill later this week, which could boost demand for metals, but is also likely to include tax increases.

LME copper has been trading in range-bound for most of March, easing 2.7% in the month and reversing a streak of 11 straight monthly gains that pushed prices to near a record high in February.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LME aluminium edged down 0.1% at $2,263 a tonne, nickel rose 0.7% to $16,325 a tonne and zinc fell 0.4% to $2,819 a tonne.

* ShFe aluminium declined 0.6% at 17,345 yuan a tonne while lead rose 2.4% to 15,425 yuan a tonne.

* China’s Jiangxi Copper Co, aimed to boost copper cathode output by 5.3% year-on-year to 1.73 million tonnes in 2021.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or ($1 = 6.5730 yuan) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; editing by Uttaresh.V and Amy Caren Daniel)

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