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. "Its
still not long after the end of August, its back to
school, and itll 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 Exchanges
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 (amm.com, 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 theyll set the
tone for whats going to happen," he said.