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METALS-Copper edges lower as weak Chinese demand weighs

(Updates prices)

HANOI, June 3 (Reuters) - Copper prices fell on Thursday, on track for the third straight session of losses in London, as weak demand in top consumer China outweighed a supply threat in the Americas.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange dipped 0.1% to $10,139 a tonne by 0714 GMT, while the most-traded July copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 1.3% to 73,020 yuan ($11,420.08) a tonne.

Meanwhile, Yangshan copper premium SMM-CUYP-CN dropped to $28.50 a tonne, its lowest since February 2016, indicating weakening demand for imported metal into China.

Demand from wire-rod makers remained tepid and is yet to pick up, said CRU China copper demand analyst He Tianyu, adding that there was a possibility they may start buying copper this month.

Copper prices have been hovering near record-high levels hit last month, deterring interest from some downstream sectors.

However, the demand for tubes was good as air conditioner exports were strong, He said, noting copper prices were also supported by macroeconomic factors such as stimulus.

Miner BHP has been facing labour strikes at its Escondida and Spence mines in Chile, while a landslip at Rio Tinto’s U.S. Bingham Canyon copper mine disrupted operations.

Vale, meanwhile, has said it would suspend operations at its Sudbury, Canada copper-nickel mine.

Production at BHP’s Escondida, the world’s biggest copper mine, dropped 16.5% year-on-year to 85,700 tonnes in April, while output at Codelco’s copper mine fell 0.5% to 132,700 tonnes, Chile’s copper commission said on Wednesday.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LME aluminium fell 0.4% to $2,434 a tonne and ShFE aluminium shed 1.4% to 18,425 yuan a tonne.

* Tesla said it expects to spend more than $1 billion a year on battery raw materials from Australia given the country’s reliable mining industry and responsible production practices.

$1 = 6.3940 yuan Reporting by Mai Nguyen; editing by Uttaresh.V and Ramakrishnan M.

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