NEW YORK The spot
aluminum billet market remained sluggish Wednesday with lower
spot sales volumes due to a slight seasonal slowdown in auto
However, diminishing inquiries
for spot deals didnt dampen premiums, which remain
between 12.5 and 13.5 cents per pound.
"Were still completely
full, but we havent received as many spot/extra requests
lately," one producer told AMM. The last spot deal he
sold was 12.5 cents per pound last week, adding that he did
manage to book some forward 2013 business at these levels.
"Weve seen a slight
softening for August business," a second producer said, adding
that he closed just one spot deal for 6063 billet at 12.5 cents
on Tuesday and two truckloads at 13 cents last week.
"Were not in the spot
market this week," a consumer added. "We havent seen any
pickup in business."
Participants are reporting a
slight softening in demand in the automotive and truck and
trailer markets in the second half of the year after a
blistering first half, but maintain it is due to seasonality
rather than a larger economic slowdown.
Kaiser Aluminum Corp., Foothill
Ranch, Calif., has forecast a 10-percent decline in automotive
build rates in the second half compared with the first half (
amm.com, July 27), while Pittsburgh-based Alcoa
Inc. readjusted its truck and trailer forecast to a range of 4
to 8 percent from its original 7- to 12-percent growth
amm.com, July 10).
A third producer said he had
seen a slight "relaxing" in automotive demand for September
orders. However, he noted that its not unusual for auto
suppliers to perform inventory checks at this time of year,
which results in fewer orders.
The lack of spot billet in the
market is likely to keep premiums high for now, and producers
expect supply to remain tight next year as well.
"Very little offshore billet has
come to the rescue (in North America this year). (And) I
dont see how that situation will improve next year," the
third producer said.