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Zinc alloy premiums steady as market pauses

Keywords: Tags  zinc prices, zinc premiums, zinc alloy premiums, special-high-grade premium, zinc, Daniel Fitzgerald

NEW YORK — Free-market zinc alloy spot premiums were unchanged this week, with traders reporting that the market is still in a holding pattern coming out of the summer.

The premium for No. 3 and No. 7 zinc alloy held steady at 16.5 to 18.5 cents per pound while No. 5 remained between 19 and 21 cents and No. 2 stayed between 22 and 25 cents.

Traders continued to report quiet activity across the market, with a trader describing it as "very wait-and-see right now."

"It is a bit of a holding pattern until mid-September," a second trader said. "It’s still not long after the end of August, it’s back to school, and it’ll take a couple of weeks for people to get settled and start looking at the fourth quarter."

The lack of extra demand in the market meant producers could not yet pas on an increase in zinc prices on the London Metal Exchange.

The London Metal Exchange’s three-month zinc price closed the official session at $1,898 per tonne (86.1 cents per pound) Thursday, up 2.5 percent from $1,851 per tonne (84 cents per pound) Aug. 23.

A third trader said that some market players are waiting until after the presidential election to lock in substantial orders, while the second trader said that ongoing uncertainty over labor negotiations between ArcelorMittal USA Inc. and the United Steelworkers had affected sentiment (, Sept. 4).

The No. 8 premium continues to trade between 20 to 22 cents, No. 12 at 23 to 25 and No. 27 at 27 to 30 cents.

The premium for special-high-grade (SHG) zinc also remained rangebound between 7 and 8 cents per pound.

The first trader added that SHG contract negotiations for 2013 had also not yet kicked into gear. Many traders are forecasting contract premiums for 2013 to be upward of 8 cents per pound.

"The mills come in for mating season around October (and) November, and they’ll set the tone for what’s going to happen," he said.

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