NEW YORK Free-market aluminum alloy prices strengthened Monday on the back of higher London Metal Exchange and scrap tags.
Prices for A380.1 rose to $1.02 to $1.03 per pound from $1 to $1.02 previously, and the range for 319.1 tightened to $1.06 to $1.07 per pound from $1.05 to $1.07.
Old sheet increased to 71 to 73 cents per pound from 69 to 71 cents, and old cast rose to 73 to 75 cents per pound from 72 to 74 cents. Mill-grade painted siding jumped to 80 to 82 cents per pound from 77 to 79 cents, and 5052 segregated low-copper clips climbed to 97 to 99 cents per pound from 94 to 96 cents.
The LMEs three-month primary aluminum price ended Tuesdays official session at $2,104.50 per tonne (95.5 cents per pound), up 1.2 percent from Fridays close at $2,080 per tonne (94.3 cents per pound).
One alloy producer source noted that the rising LME price has "given some people courage," while a second producer source said that rising scrap prices had forced their hand.
"Were now asking for $1.03 per pound for A380.1 and we wont sell for anything less. We werent crazy about selling at $1.02 last week, to be honest," the second source said. "I think well start seeing margins turn around in the next 30 days, with ingot prices coming up faster than scrap prices. People will refuse to sell as they realize that there is no 99-cent metal."
A third producer source said that sales at the higher prices were relatively strong, with some consumers seeking to lock in material ahead of any further price increases.
Meanwhile, scrap market players were divided over whether trading activity had increased or declined with the LME spike.
"Its brisk. With the market being up, people are moving metal," one buyer said.
But a seller disagreed. "We had a nice little flurry at the end of last week, but business has fallen off a little bit from where we see it," he said. "Its hard to know what to make of it, and whether this bump will stick around. Consumers arent anxious to overpay for material unless they really need it."