(Updates prices, adds quotes)

July 21 (Reuters) – London copper prices declined on Wednesday, as a stronger dollar — up on worries around rising COVID-19 cases globally — dented the metal’s appeal.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.6% to $9,277 a tonne by 0606 GMT. The most-traded August copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange tracked overnight gains in London to gain 0.2% to 68,030 yuan ($10,505.75) a tonne.

The dollar stood on the verge of fresh year-to-date peaks, as jitters about surging infections buttressed gains built on higher interest-rate expectations, with investors waiting on the European Central Bank for their next cue.

A firm dollar makes greenback-priced metals more expensive to holders of other currencies.

However, as copper prices fell under dollar pressures, downstream buying interest in China emerged on cheaper cost to buy the metal, preventing prices from steep declines, said Huatai Futures in a note.

Yangshan copper premium SMM-CUYP-CN rose to $40 a tonne, its highest since May 7, indicating strengthening demand for imported metal into China.

* LME nickel dropped 2% to $18,310 a tonne, aluminium shed 1.2% to $2,435.50 a tonne and tin was down 0.9% to $33,200 a tonne.

* ShFE nickel declined 1.6% to 136,670 yuan a tonne and zinc fell 1.5% to 22,150 yuan a tonne. Lead jumped 1.3% to 15,820 yuan a tonne.

* The global zinc market was under-supplied by 17,900 tonnes in May following a deficit of 13,800 tonnes in April, data from the International Lead and Zinc Study Group showed.

* The premium of LME cash lead over the three-month contract CMPB0-3 hit a near three-week high of $13.25 a tonne, indicating tightening nearby supply. LME inventories MPBSTX-TOTAL fell to a one-year low of 66,975 tonnes.

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$1 = 6.4755 yuan Reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Uttaresh.V

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