LONDON - Copper prices extended their decline to a third straight day on Friday as a spike in COVID-19 cases in top metals consumer China and hawkish comments by Fed officials stoked demand concerns.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had slipped 0.5% to $8,069 a tonne by 1135 GMT. It has lost 4.4% so far this week, retreating from a five-month high last Friday.

Copper touched those highs partly on news that China had relaxed some COVID restrictions. But cases have continued to climb this week, including in big cities such as Beijing and Guangzhou, fanning fears about China's economic performance.

"China announced some easing at the margins of their COVID policy. But the fact is, they're heading into winter and infection rates are surging, so I can’t see these controls ending any time soon,” said Tom Price, head of commodities strategy at Liberum.

The most-traded December copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slid 0.9% to 65,740 yuan ($9,223.95) a tonne.

"Orders from buyers have remained moderate since September. The current sentiment is weak as it's hard to find any bright spot of demand next year," a Chinese copper tube producer said.

Certain factors have improved, such as a decline in U.S. inflation and Chinese support for its troubled property sector, Price said.

"The backdrop for commodities has improved marginally, but it's still not great. So, we'll stick with our bear case for a little longer,” said Price, adding that he expected prices of industrial metals to decline further by 10%-15% in the coming months.

Signs that supply was rising, with inventories in SHFE warehouses climbing 12.7% this past week to 85,817 tonnes, data showed on Friday, also weighed down copper prices.

Among other metals, LME aluminium dipped 0.1% to $2,388 a tonne, nickel fell 2.2% to $24,505 and tin fell 0.7% to $22,435, but zinc climbed 0.9% to $3,013 and lead gained 1% to $2,171.

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($1 = 7.1271 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Eric Onstad Additional reporting by Siyi Liu and Dominique Patton in Beijing Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)