NEW YORK Free-market aluminum alloy prices were stable Thursday as producers attempted to push prices back to a profitable level but continued to be undercut by lower quotes.
The price range for 319.1 widened to $1.06 to $1.08 per pound from $1.06 to $1.07 previously, while A380.1 was unchanged at $1.02 to $1.03 per pound.
Aluminum-copper radiators rose to $1.72 to $1.78 per pound from $1.70 to $1.75 previously, while twitch increased to 81 to 83 cents per pound from 80 to 81 cents.
The cash North American special aluminum alloy contract (Nasaac) ended the London Metal Exchanges official session Friday at $1,935 per tonne (87.8 cents per pound), down 1.9 percent from Tuesdays close at $1,972 per tonne (89.4 cents per pound).
Several producers contacted by AMM said they were pushing higher quotes, including $1.04 per pound for A380.1, but had yet to find any success.
One alloy producer source said hed heard of one A380.1 order at 99 cents per pound that "could be Nasaac" material. "Some people started raising prices and other guys are still languishing. I dont think this is going to fall apart over the weekend, but if no one sells anything theyll continue to sell at a loss," he said.
"I think youll see some new resolve to push ingot levels upward to a new level of respectability. I think we should be in the $1.04 to $1.05 range very easily. But its hard to push prices when you dont get everyone on board," a second producer source said.
"In my opinion, producers have inventory they are trying to shed in a historically slow sales month," a third producer source said. "Until this excess inventory is flushed out and shipments come back a bit, we can expect soft secondary ingot values. There is just too much inventory sitting around for the higher scrap prices to force ingot values up. I am not sure where the tipping point is."
Meanwhile, scrap buyers reports on trading activity were mixed.
"Its been pretty good. Mill scrap is definitely moving," one buyer said.
"It kinda died, and volume into the yards is slow. I dont know why," a second buyer said.