June 13 (Reuters) - Prices of most base metals fell on Thursday, weighed down by the prospect of the U.S. Federal Reserve cutting interest rates only once this year and at a later time than expected.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) fell 1.1% to $9,834 per metric ton by 0316 GMT, while the Shanghai Futures Exchange's (SHFE) July copper contract was nearly flat at 79,680 yuan ($10,988.98) a ton.

The Fed held interest rates steady on Wednesday and pushed out the start of rate cuts to perhaps as late as December, as economic growth and unemployment were lodged at levels better than the central bank considers sustainable in the long run.

Earlier this year, market participants had hoped for two to three rate cuts, starting as early as September.

Rate cuts normally help boost economic growth and physical metals demand, while weakening the U.S. dollar, which in turns makes greenback-priced metals cheaper to holders of other currencies.

Meanwhile, physical metals demand was tepid due to high and volatile metals prices.

Copper premiums in top consumer China remained weak, while inventories in both LME and SHFE warehouses were still rising. .

The LME cash copper contract was trading at a discount of $123.51 per ton to the three-month contract on Wednesday, compared to a $28.50 discount at the same time last year, indicating abundance near-term supplies.

LME aluminium fell 1.7% to $2,533 a ton, nickel declined 1% to $17,875, zinc shed 1.6% to $2,848.50, lead eased 0.4% to $2,165, and tin decreased 1.1% to $32,990.

SHFE aluminium shed 0.9% to 20,640 yuan a ton, nickel dropped 1.3% to 137,540 yuan, lead eased 0.4% to 18,550 yuan, while zinc rose 0.5% to 23,650 yuan and tin climbed 1.7% to 273,530 yuan.

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1230 US Initial Jobless Clm Weekly

1230 US PPI Machine Manuf'ing May ($1 = 7.2509 yuan) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi; Editing by Varun H K)