Jan 14 (Reuters) - Copper prices dipped on Friday, pressured by prospects of an interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve as soon as March, however they were headed for their best weekly gains since October driven by tight supply. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange
was down 0.6% at $9,900 a tonne by 0310 GMT, but it was up 2.6% for the week, its biggest gain in 13 weeks. The most-traded February copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 0.8% to 71,330 yuan ($11,215.06) a tonne. On Thursday, Fed Governor Lael Brainard became the latest official to signal the central bank will start raising interest rates in March to battle inflation. [nL1N2TT1Y1] An early rate hike could trim liquidity in financial markets and slow down recovery in the world's biggest economy. On-warrant LME copper inventories were at 78,000 tonnes, down about 67% from August highs. FUNDAMENTALS * LME aluminium eased 0.1% to $2,951 a tonne, nickel was down 0.2% at $22,125 a tonne, lead edged 0.2% lower to $2,353.5 and zinc fell 0.7% to $3,540.5. * ShFE aluminium fell 2.3% to 21,075 yuan a tonne, nickel edged 0.3% higher to 163,690 yuan, zinc was down 0.2% at 24,845 yuan, lead rose 1.5% to 15,590 yuan and tin dipped 1.3% to 307,130 yuan. * China's imports of unwrought copper and copper products slipped in 2021 from the previous year's record, though imports of copper concentrate hit a historic high. [nL1N2TU05P] * China's economic growth is likely to slow to 5.2% in 2022, before steadying in 2023, a Reuters poll showed, as the central bank steadily ramps up policy easing to ward off a sharper downturn. [nL4N2TS1HP] * For the top stories in metals and other news, click [TOP/MTL] or [MET/L] MARKETS NEWS * The dollar headed for its largest weekly fall in eight months, as investors trimmed long positions and deemed, for now, that several U.S. rate hikes this year are fully priced in. [USD/] * Asian shares took a beating, after a fresh salvo of hawkish remarks from Federal Reserve officials solidified expectations that interest rates could rise as soon as March, leaving markets braced for tighter monetary conditions. [MKTS/GLOB] DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0700 UK GDP Est 3M/3M Nov 0700 UK GDP Estimate MM, YY Nov 0700 UK Manufacturing Output Nov 0745 France CPI (EU Norm) Final MM, YY Dec 1100 EU Reserve Assets Total Dec 1330 US Retail Sales MM Dec 1415 US Industrial Production MM Dec 1500 US U Mich Sentiment Prelim Jan ($1 = 6.3602 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; Within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, Outside U.S. +91 80 6749 6131; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com)) (( For related news and prices, click on the codes in brackets: LME price overview COMEX copper futures <0#HG:> All metals news [MTL] All commodities news [C] Foreign exchange rates SPEED GUIDES )) Keywords: GLOBAL METALS/
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