(Updates throughout, HANOI date changes)

LONDON, June 3 (Reuters) – Copper prices fell for a third day on Thursday, falling below record highs as investors waited for U.S. employment data on Friday that would give clues as to when monetary policy could tighten.

Higher interest rate expectations could hurt growth-related assets like metals and equities. Global stocks have hovered below all-time highs and the dollar has risen slightly.

The Chinese yuan meanwhile weakened for a fourth day from its three-year high against the dollar, making greenback-denominated metals more expensive for buyers of the world’s largest commodity consumer.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 1.2% at $ 10,022 a tonne at 10:40 a.m. GMT.

Prices for the metal used in electricity and construction hit a record high of $ 10,747.50 in early May, with many analysts expecting strong demand to generate further gains in the years to come.

“The declines appear to be well supported,” independent analyst Robin Bhar said. He said the near-term price direction would likely be driven by the US jobs data, but “I think we’ll see new highs heading into the fourth quarter.”

ECONOMY: PMI surveys showed that China’s service sector expansion slowed in May, although factory activity grew at the fastest pace this year.

Trade activity in the euro area has jumped.

PREMIUMS IN CHINA: China’s appetite for foreign metals is waning, with Yangshan’s copper import premiums falling to $ 28.50 per tonne, the lowest since at least 2012. SMM-CUYP-CN

CITI: “The tightening of the refined copper market is on its way once consumer destocking runs its course,” Citi analysts said in a note. “Our baseline scenario is that this will become evident in the next few months and will be particularly bullish for tighter copper spreads.”

CHILE: Codelco’s copper production fell 0.5% year-on-year to 132,700 tonnes in April and BHP’s Escondida mine fell 16.5% to 85,700 tonnes, government said Chilean.

OTHER METALS: Aluminum LME was down 1.3% to $ 2,411.50 per tonne, zinc was down 2.3% to $ 3,012, nickel was down 0.6% to $ 18,130 , lead gained 1.3% to $ 2,191.50 and tin rose 1.9% to $ 30,255. (Reporting by Peter Hobson Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen; editing by David Evans)

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