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METALS-Copper dips on strong dollar and low Chinese demand

(New throughout, updates prices and market activity, adds comment from Citi)

LONDON, June 2 (Reuters) - Copper edged lower on Wednesday as investors took some money off the table over worries about a dip in demand from top consumer China while a firmer dollar also sapped the metal’s appeal.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 1.2% to $10,124 a tonne by 1600 GMT.

“Investors are getting more cautious, and that is presumably prompting some profit-taking,” said ING analyst Wenyu Yao.

With the U.S. dollar index snapping back above 90 on Wednesday, the dynamics from the macro market are less supportive for copper, she added.

The Yangshan copper premium SMM-CUYP-CN fell to $28.50 a tonne, its lowest since February 2016, indicating weakening demand for imported metal into China as high copper prices deter downstream consumption.

“Demand concerns have been raised onshore (in China), particularly in copper,” broker Marex said in a note.

Supply threats from a looming election in Peru and strikes at BHP’s Escondida and Spence mines and Vale’s Sudbury mine have supported prices. L2N2NJ25M]

DOLLAR: The dollar firmed after hitting a five-month low as a pick-up in U.S. manufacturing kept bets alive for a quicker normalisation of Federal Reserve policy.

A stronger U.S. currency makes dollar-priced copper less attractive to global buyers.

SPREAD: LME cash copper's discount to the three-month contract CMCU0-3 was at $10 a tonne, compared with a premium of $30.15 on April 23, pointing to easing supply concerns.

POSITIONING: Funds whittled down their long positions in LME copper to 26% of open interest as of Friday, from 68% in February, Marex said.

Money managers cut their net long position for a third straight week to 33,991 contracts in the week to May 25.

“A highly unusual divergence in copper net speculative positioning and prices year-to-date is perhaps the second-largest in ~30 years of data and points to an impending physical tightness in the refined copper market,” analysts at Citi said.

OTHER METALS: LME aluminium was down 1.3% at $2,436 a tonne, zinc rose 0.4% to $3,077, lead shed 0.4% to $2,210, tin edged up 0.7% to $30,925 and nickel was up 0.4% at $18,205. (Reporting by Zandi Shabalala Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen Editing by Jan Harvey, David Goodman and David Gregorio)

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