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METALS-Copper prices near 6-week high as U.S. rate hike fears ease

Aug 11 (Reuters) - Copper prices climbed on Thursday to their highest in nearly six weeks, as lower-than-expected U.S. inflation eased worries of aggressive rate hikes that could hurt growth and metals demand.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.1% to $8,090 a tonne at 0300 GMT, while the most-traded August copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 1.3% to 62,130 yuan ($9,215.37) a tonne.

Both contracts hit their highest since July 1 earlier in the session.

U.S. consumer prices did not rise in July compared with economists' expectation of a 0.2% gain, a report that could allow the Federal Reserve to dial down the size of interest rate hikes in September.

However, U.S. policymakers pushed back on market expectation for rate cuts next year and assured they would continue to tighten monetary policy until price pressures are fully broken.

ShFE nickel jumped 5.3% to 176,490 yuan a tonne, zinc advanced 2.3% to 25,320 yuan a tonne and tin increased 2.3% to 200,500 yuan a tonne.

Tight inventories across base metals also lent support to prices.

ShFE copper stockpiles were at their lowest since Jan. 21, and LME inventories of the metal fell to their lowest since June 29 and down 30% since May.

LME nickel stocks have lost 73% in a year to 56,244 tonnes, the lowest since October 2008.

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($1 = 6.7420 yuan) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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