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METALS-Copper prices hover near 16-month lows on demand fears

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(Updates prices) LONDON, June 29 (Reuters) - Copper prices held near 16-month lows on Wednesday as investors weighed the risk that rapid interest rate rises will reduce global economic growth and metals demand.

Industrial metals have tumbled alongside stock markets as central bankers stepped up talk of action to contain decades-high inflation. Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 0.6% at $8,418 a tonne at 1559 GMT, near last week's low of $8,122.50 and down from a record high of $10,845 in March.

"It's too early to say if we're out of the woods," said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen.

"It depends on the level to which we see a deterioration of the view on global growth and whether China can find a way out of its COVID lockdowns."

NICKEL/POTANIN: LME nickel prices briefly shot up after Britain sanctioned Vladimir Potanin, who owns 36% of top
producer Norilsk Nickel . A Norilsk executive said its lawyers were studying the measures against Potanin but that "we as a company are not under sanctions." Analysts said Russia's nickel exports would likely be little affected. By 1559 GMT, nickel was up 2.6% at $23,750 a tonne.

INTEREST RATES: Weak economic data in Europe and the United States has not prevented central bankers from doubling down on hawkish rhetoric. CHINA FACTORIES: A Reuters poll showed that China's factory activity likely expanded in June for the first time in four months. CHINA PROPERTY: In a positive sign for metals demand, homebuilder China Vanke Co said the troubled Chinese property market has bottomed in the short term. CHINA GROWTH: S&P cut its China GDP growth forecast this year to 3.3%. POSITIONING: Speculative investors are turning bearish on copper. FUNDAMENTALS: Output disruptions, supply dislocations and relatively thin exchange inventories support metal prices, Standard Chartered analysts said in a note. ALUMINIUM: Some Japanese aluminium buyers have agreed to pay a premium of $148 a tonne over the benchmark price for July-September shipments, down 14% from the current quarter, sources said. METALS PRICES: LME aluminium was down 0.9% at $2,468 a tonne, zinc rose 0.3% to $3,343, lead slipped 2.2% to $1,928 and tin was 0.6% lower at $26,650.

(Reporting by Peter Hobson
Additional reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexandra Hudson, Elaine Hardcastle)

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