LONDON - Copper prices fell on Thursday and marked their biggest quarterly slump since 2011 as COVID lockdowns in China and slowing economic growth curtailed demand.

Other industrial metals were also headed for their worst quarter in several years, down between 20% and 40%. Many analysts fear further declines in the near term, as central banks push ahead with rapid interest rate rises that will stifle growth.

"We still see metals falling as a recession in the U.S. is fully priced in," said Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann. Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 1.9% at $8,240 a tonne in official trading and down around 20.5% since the start of April.

Copper fell 19.8% in the first quarter of 2020, when COVID-19 spread worldwide. There has been no other quarterly plunge on that scale since 2011. Briesemann said copper could slip as low as $7,000-$7,500 in the third quarter, but prices should rise towards the year-end.

MARKETS: Global stock markets have suffered the worst first half of the year on record.

DOLLAR: The dollar is set for its biggest quarterly gain since 2016, making metals priced in the currency costlier for non-U.S. buyers.

CHINA: Chinese factory activity rose slightly in June after three months of contraction caused by COVID lockdowns.

JAPAN: Japan's manufacturing output saw its biggest monthly drop in two years in May.

NICKEL: The LME said it was examining sanctions imposed by Britain on Vladimir Potanin, chief executive of Nornickel, the world's largest refined nickel producer.

PRICES: LME aluminium was down 2% at $2,420.50 a tonne and down 30% in Q2; zinc fell 3.9% to $3,230 and was 23% lower in Q2; nickel slipped 3.2% to $23,010 and was down 28% in Q2; lead was 0.9% lower at $1,916 and has fallen 20% in Q2; tin rose 0.7% to $26,600 but has plunged 38% in Q2. The quarterly declines for all five metals were the biggest in at least a decade.

(Reporting by Peter Hobson, Additional reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Devika Syamnath)