LONDON, May 4 (Reuters) – Zinc prices hit their lowest in nearly nine months on Friday, the only base metal to trade in negative territory as investors expect a narrowing of the global market deficit. Three month London Metal Exchange zinc was down 0.7 percent at 1039 GMT, having hit its lowest since last August at $2,972 a tonne. Prices have fallen 15 percent since peaking above $3,500 mid-February. “We see prices drifting. Zinc is still tight but the deficit is shrinking,” said Xiao Fu, head of commodity market strategy at Bank of China International. But she added: “It’s a healthy correction, the market will remain right, meaning prices will remain underpinned.” Some 880,000 tonnes of additional zinc mine capacity is due to come on stream this year, meaning the market will be much less tight, according to the International Lead and Zinc Study Group. However, the group still expects a deficit this year of 263,000 tonnes. ZINC TECHNICALS: Zinc this week violated the 28-month rising trend line below the $3,090 area, leading to a sell signal in the weekly momentum chart which suggests further selling pressure in the next few weeks, ING said in a note. ZINC TREATMENT CHARGES: The zinc industry agreed a 15 percent drop in annual zinc processing fees to $147 a tonne, miner and metals smelting company Nyrstar said. ING said the slight drop in annual terms will offer some relief to smelters, and “reflects expectations that mine supply will soon loosen significantly”. ALUMINIUM: Aluminium climbed 1.9 percent to $2,314 a tonne, staging a technical rally following steep falls in the previous session. The metal is on course for a 4 percent weekly rise after falling almost 10 percent last week. SCRAP: The company in charge of inspecting scrap metal shipments from the United States bound for China said that it would suspend checks on shipments for one month starting on Friday, effectively halting China’s imports. CHINA, U.S. TRADE ROW: Top officials from China and the United States reached a consensus on some aspects of the countries’ trade row, but disagreements over other issues remain “relatively big”. GLOBAL MARKETS: World stocks were set for their biggest weekly loss since the middle of March, while the dollar hovered near highs hit on its recent rally as investors awaited jobs data from the United States. NICKEL: An abundance of stainless steel in China following the ramp-up of new production in Indonesia is threatening stainless mills globally and the nickel producers that supply them.

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