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Aluminum scrap prices rise, alloys steady

Keywords: Tags  aluminum scrap prices, aluminum alloy, aluminum ingot, LME, Daniel Fitzgerald

NEW YORK — Free-market aluminum scrap prices have risen alongside a bump in London Metal Exchange pricing, with alloy producers attempting to push alloy tags higher as their scrap costs increase.

Old sheet moved up to a range of 69 to 71 cents per pound from 68 to 70 cents previously, while aluminum-copper radiators increased to between $1.70 and $1.75 per pound from $1.68 to $1.73.

Mill-grade mixed low-copper clippings moved up to a range of 79 to 81 cents per pound from 78 to 80 cents, while painted siding rose to 75 to 77 cents per pound from 74 to 76 cents.

A413.1 alloy increased to a range of $1.08 to $1.09 per pound from $1.07 to $1.08 previously, while A380.1 was unchanged at $1 to $1.01 per pound.

Three-month aluminum closed the official LME session Tuesday at $2,016 per tonne (91.4 cents per pound), up 3.5 percent from $1,948.50 per tonne (88.4 cents per pound) at the end of last week.

"Prices are holding. It’s too early to see an effect from the spike in LME values," one alloy producer source said.

"We’re trying to quote higher with the scrap prices up a little bit," a second producer source said. "We’re always being squeezed on the margins, so we’re trying to price accordingly."

Most producers contacted by AMM said they were now quoting $1.02 per pound for A380.1, with a third producer saying that "the industry needs $1.04 to be profitable."

"We’re probably getting 10 percent of the business we quote at $1.01 per pound. If I lower the number to $1, I get it every time," a fourth producer source said.

Meanwhile, scrap market participants said trading activity continues to be quiet moving into December, with some forecasting a stronger January.

"Some people are generically quoting and not buying anything," one scrap trader said. "December isn’t the greatest month for shipping because people are watching their inventories (and) some of them will be down a week because of the holidays. Everyone’s saying that January’s numbers are going to be more aggressive."

"Once a blanket of snow covers the United States, scrap is going to be a problem," the fourth alloy producer source said. "We’re already running with minimal scrap on the ground. Any hiccup in production would be a problem."

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