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METALS-Copper falls on rising inventories, fear of China's price control

(Updates prices)

HANOI, April 13 (Reuters) - Copper prices fell on Tuesday, as increasing inventories in global exchanges and worries about possible governmental price control measures in top consumer China weighed on sentiment, despite data showing solid copper imports in the first quarter.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.1% to $8,856.50 a tonne by 0706 GMT, while the most-traded May copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed down 0.3% at 65,870 yuan ($10,055.72) a tonne.

Inventories in LME-approved warehouses MCUSTX-TOTAL hit 165,625 tonnes, their highest since Nov. 11, while stockpiles in warehouses tracked by ShFE CU-STX-SGH have been hovering around their 11-month high.

A rise in the prices of global commodities has led to Chinese top officials emphasizing the need to cap prices to reduce cost for firms and control inflation.

However, China’s January-March copper imports were the highest first-quarter amount since at least 2008, on rising demand and easing logistics issues.

“(There’s been) too much good news baked in, so much so that looking forward, there is expectation of tighter monetary conditions and (China’s) State Reserve Bureau’s release of supplies to help industrial firms cope with rising raw material cost,” said a Singapore-based metals trader.

“But I think this is a dip to buy anything between here and $8,800 is worth picking up,” the trader said, adding that data were backward looking.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LME aluminium rose 0.8% to $2,281 a tonne, nickel declined 0.2% to $16,110 a tonne, while ShFE aluminium increased 1.9% to 17,740 yuan a tonne and ShFE zinc fell 1.8% to 21,350 yuan a tonne.

* ShFE nickel dropped 2.2% to 121,720 yuan a tonne, tracking overnight losses in London after Russia’s Nornickel said it would fully restart operations this month at a major mine hit by flooding, earlier than expected.

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$1 = 6.5505 yuan Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Rashmi Aich

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