London May 23 (Reuters) - Copper prices fell for a third consecutive session as profit-taking continued on Thursday and consumers refused to buy at near-record levels.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was down 0.9% at $10,330 a metric ton by 1036 GMT. It has fallen 7% since surging to an all-time high of $11,104 a ton on Monday.

But it is still up by 20% so far this year.

"There is a recognition that demand for metals is not picking up and speculative funds that got in are cashing out," Wisdom Tree's Nitesh Shah said.

These funds will keep coming back with confidence of long term price growth in copper, Shah added.

Copper is crucial for the world's shift to electrification due to its conductivity. It is mainly used for making cables and wires. But physical consumption has not been able to catch up with the speculative frenzy.

Copper inventory remained at a four-year high in China, the top consumer of the metal, as demand waned after prices surpassed $10,000 a ton.

A BNP Paribas research note cited an estimate of 500,000 tons of unsold wire-rod copper stock in China.

The global refined copper market showed a 125,000 ton surplus in March, the International Copper Study Group said on Wednesday.

For other metals, lead retreated after hitting a two-year high on Wednesday, last trading 1.7% lower at $2,275.

LME aluminium fell 1% to $2,610.5 a ton, nickel dropped 1.2% to $20,115, zinc eased 0.6% to $3,045.5 and tin was down 1.2% at $33,100.

The market is waiting for U.S. weekly jobless claims data later in the session that could offer more insight to the Federal Reserve's next interest rate steps.

Higher interest rates support the dollar, which makes greenback-priced commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies.

(Reporting by Julian Luk; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)