CORRECTED-METALS-LME copper eyes worst week since March 2020 on China sale plan, Fed tone

(Corrects headline, paragraph 1 to make clear milestone was in March 2020)

HANOI, June 18 (Reuters) – London copper prices were set on Friday for their worst week since March 2020, pressured by China’s plan to sell reserves and a firm dollar buoyed by the prospect of U.S. interest rate hikes.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.4% to $9,282 a tonne by 0149 GMT on Friday, down 7.2% so far in the week.

The most-traded July copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange dropped as much as 2.9% to 67,110 yuan ($10,412.08) a tonne, its lowest since April 15 and also set for a weekly drop.

The dollar was headed for its best week in nearly nine months as investors have scrambled to price in a sooner-than-expected ending to extraordinary U.S. monetary stimulus in the days after a surprise shift in tone from the Federal Reserve.

A stronger dollar makes greenback-priced metals more expensive and less appealing to holders of other currencies.

Earlier this week, top metals consumer China announced a plan to sell state reserves of copper, aluminium and zinc, in an effort to curb a strong price rally in commodities.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LME aluminium fell 0.2% to $2,396 a tonne, while nickel rose 1% to $17,350 a tonne. ShFE aluminium dropped 1.3% to 18,475 yuan a tonne, zinc shed 2.7% to 22,020 yuan a tonne and lead declined 1.4% to 15,095 yuan a tonne.

* LME copper inventories MCUSTX-TOTAL rose to their highest since April 28 at 143,750 tonnes.

* A party controls 50%-80% of available zinc stocks and short-term futures, LME data showed. <0#LME-WHT>

* China will issue new rules on the management of price indexes for commodities and services as the government steps up scrutiny of the country’s commodity markets and battles to contain inflation.

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DATA/EVENTS (GMT)

0600 UK Retail Sales MM, YY May

0600 UK Retail Sales Ex-Fuel MM May

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