Some optimism seen in billet market

May 13, 2013 | 01:56 PM | Michael Cowden

Tags  billet premium, aluminum billet, extrusions, building, construction, London Metal Exchange, LME, Century Aluminum Alcoa

CHICAGO — Market participants remain divided on whether the aluminum billet market is seeing an uptick in demand after a slow first quarter, with some contending that building and construction activity is picking up and others reporting little change in order entry rates.

The billet market remained slow through April, most market players agreed, but some said this past week that May is looking much better than the previous month and that June is shaping up to be even stronger.

"It’s looking a little better. It’s not great, but we’ve got enough to keep our plants busy," a billet producer said. "We hadn’t seen the seasonality kick in. So maybe that’s what we’re starting to see."

The producer’s company made some recent spot deals with a billet premium of 12 to 13 cents per pound, he said, but acknowledged that the orders with higher premiums were for smaller volumes.....

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