METALS-Copper touches March high on recovery in top consumer China

    * GRAPHIC-2020 asset returns: 

 (Adds official prices, U.S. jobs survey)
    By Zandi Shabalala
    LONDON, June 3 (Reuters) - Copper hit its highest since
March on Thursday, buoyed by the prospect of higher demand from
top consumer China after data showed a strong performance in its
services sector. 
    China's services sector returned to growth last month for
the first time since January as the economy recovers from strict
coronavirus containment measures, a private survey showed.
    Prices for copper, which are up about 26% since March lows,
have been supported by higher consumption from China's
infrastructure and construction sectors and hopes for a global
economic recovery as nations reopen their economies.
    "Chinese copper demand has been very solid over the past two
months," said BMO Capital Markets analyst Tim Wood-Dow. 
    "Chinese growth will be infrastructure-led this year, and
this is very positive for metals. My feeling is that investors
are gradually becoming more confident in China's recovery."    
    Benchmark copper         on the London Metal Exchange (LME)
eased by 0.1% to $5,522 a tonne in official trading after
touching its loftiest since March 13 at $5,549.50.
    CHINA STIMULUS: China's central bank vice-governor said the
economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic was bigger than
expected and that more monetary and credit policy support was
    U.S JOBS: Private payrolls in the United States fell less
than expected in May, with employers laying off another 2.76
million workers.             
    CHILE EARTHQUAKE: A magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck northern
Chile early on Wednesday morning, the GFZ German Research Center
for Geosciences (GFZ) said.             
    Copper mines and smelters owned by Antofagasta          and
state miner Codelco are near the region, broker Marex Spectron
    CRITICAL MINERALS: The U.S. State Department hopes to expand
a strategic minerals initiative aimed at ensuring supply chains
for metals critical for batteries and wind and solar power as
demand for green energy continues to grow, a top diplomat said.
    OTHER PRICES: LME aluminium         rose 0.6% to $1,555.50 a
tonne, zinc         slipped 0.5% to $2,010.50, lead         was
stable at $1,718, tin         edged down 0.1% to $15,991 and
nickel         added 0.3% to $12,885 after touching its highest
since March 10.    

 (Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen
Editing by David Evans and David Goodman