* GRAPHIC-2020 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl (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 needed. 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 noted. 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 )
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