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METALS-Copper hits 7-week low as dollar firms after Trump catches COVID-19

(Updates prices; adds quotes, details)

Oct 2 (Reuters) - London copper on Friday fell to its lowest in seven weeks as prices were pressured by a stronger dollar on stalled U.S. stimulus talks and after U.S. President Donald Trump’s positive test for COVID-19, weeks ahead of the elections.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.5% at $6,357 a tonne by 0753 GMT, having fallen as much as $6,269 earlier in the session, its lowest since Aug. 14.

Trump said he and his wife tested positive for COVID-19, just a month ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election. The news could cause a new wave of market volatility heading into the election.

Even before Trump’s test, investors had already been on edge in Asia on signs that a hoped-for U.S. fiscal stimulus package was stalled in Washington.

“It’s risk-off. People liquidate whatever they have,” said a base metals trader in Singapore.

A stronger dollar also made greenback-priced metals less appealing to holders of other currencies.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Copper stocks in LME-approved warehouses MCUSTX-TOTAL were last at 163,125 tonnes, more than double the inventories level just a week earlier.

* Japan’s Nittetsu Mining Co Ltd expects to produce 24,775 tonnes of refined copper in the second half of the 2020/21 financial year, steady compared with last year.

* Yangshan copper premium assessed by SMM SMM-CUYP-CN was last at $50.5 a tonne, picking up slightly from the previous session but more than halved from its 2020 peak of $113.50 a tonne hit in May, indicating subdued demand in top consumer China.

* Prices of aluminium for U.S. consumers in the transport, construction and packaging industries are sliding because the market is expecting exemptions for producers in the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

* LME aluminium inventories MALSTX-TOTAL fell to their lowest since May 18 at 1.45 million tonnes.

* LME aluminium fell 0.5% to $1,731 a tonne and nickel dropped 1.4% to $14,145 a tonne while lead shed 1.6% to $1,778.50 a tonne and zinc was down 0.9% at $2,305.50 a tonne.

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Reporting by Mai Nguyen, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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