MELBOURNE/BEIJING: London zinc and most other base metals traded lower on Thursday, after comments from

U.S. President Donald Trump chilled optimism over an imminent China trade deal and Chinese industrial output growth fell to a 17-year low.

Trump said on Wednesday he was in no rush to complete a trade pact with China, the world's biggest metals consumer, and insisted that any deal include protection for intellectual property.

Despite fears over low inventories and overseas supply disruptions, consumption of zinc, used to galvanise steel, is recovering at a slow place in China, Jinrui Futures said in a note, adding that Chinese refined zinc production was rising as a result of fiscal stimulus.

“In the second quarter, smelters will gradually release more output," the brokerage added, forecasting that London zinc will trade in a range of $2,700-$2,900 a tonne next week.

FUNDAMENTALS

* ZINC: Three-month zinc on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.8 percent at $2,825 a tonne as of 0504 GMT, below Wednesday's peak of $2,848.50, the highest since July.

Shanghai Futures Exchange zinc rose 0.8 percent to its highest since April 2018 before giving up gains to trade lower.

* STOCKS: LME zinc <0#MZNSTX-LOC-GRD> stocks have fallen to 58,950 tonnes, the lowest since October 2007.

* SPREADS: The premium of cash zinc over the three-month LME contract <CMZN0-3> stood at $41 a tonne on Wednesday, down from Tuesday's $52, which was the highest since January.

* CHINA: Growth in industrial output fell in the first two months of 2019 but investment picked up speed.

* COPPER: LME copper drifted down 0.4 percent to $6,449 a tonne, while ShFE copper slipped 0.5 percent to 49,180 yuan ($7,328.49) a tonne.

* USD: The dollar index nudged up 0.1 percent, keeping dollar-denominated metals under pressure.

* ALUMINIUM: ShFE aluminium was the only metal to rise, nudging up 0.5 percent. China's aluminium output fell 2 percent on a daily basis in the first two months of 2019 from December's record rate.

* WINTER CURBS: Seasonal restrictions on aluminium output in northern Chinese cities are due to be lifted on Friday.

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MARKETS NEWS

*  Asian shares barely budged as investors reacted cautiously to mixed data from China.

Copyright Reuters, 2019