US aluminum premiums soar above 3-year high

Dec 02, 2009 | 11:17 AM | Anne Riley

North American spot aluminum premiums continue to climb, nearing 39-month highs in post-Thanksgiving trading as the physical market tightens.

Midwest aluminum spot premiums are between 5.5 and 5.9 cents per pound, with some sales reported at premiums as high as 6 cents per pound, producers and traders said. That range, an increase from the 5.35- to 5.75-cents-per-pound spread seen toward the end of November, marks the highest physical premiums reported in North America since October 2006.

A number of factors are underpinning higher premiums, sources said, from domestic scarcity and buoyed demand to skyrocketing Asian premiums that are encouraging some traders to ship additional material overseas.

Most domestic aluminum producers are nearly sold out of product for December, according to market sources, meaning hand-to-mouth consumers in need of material are having to pay a higher price.....

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