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Mill-grade aluminum scrap prices down

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

NEW YORK — Free-market mill-grade aluminum scrap prices dropped further Thursday in step with the London Metal Exchange, while some secondary alloy producers reported surprisingly brisk trade before year-end.

Prices for 5052 segregated clippings fell to 94 to 96 cents per pound from 96 to 98 cents previously, while prices for 3105 clippings declined to a range of 83 to 85 cents per pound from 85 to 87 cents.

Used beverage cans (UBCs) also widened to a range of 79 to 81 cents per pound picked up, while A413.1 alloy widened to a range of $1.08 to $1.10 per pound.

The cash North American special aluminum alloy contract (Nasaac) closed the LME’s official session Friday at $1,897 per tonne (86 cents per pound), down 0.7 percent from $1,911 per tonne (86.7 cents per pound) Tuesday.

Prices for A380.1 remained unchanged at $1.02 to $1.03 per pound, although there were a few transactions reported outside this range.

One die caster bought A380.1 at $1 per pound, having been offered Nasaac metal at 99 cents, he said, claiming that none of his suppliers quoted $1.04 per pound but some producers "held pretty firm" on quotes of $1.03.

"I know they’re having a hell of a time getting scrap right now," he said.

Meanwhile, an alloy producer reported selling two truckloads of A380.1 at $1.055 per pound. "Somebody needed to get some material before the end of the year," he said.

"Business has been brisk, as consumers seemed to have shot a little short of their year-end requirements. ... (Prices are) mainly flat to a little down where producers have inventory to clear out," a second alloy producer said.

"For the price of scrap, ingot prices still need to come up," a third producer said.

Meanwhile, scrap market participants reported very quiet trading activity.

"Everybody is in holiday mode," one buyer said. "Most dealers have made the money that they want to make for this year, and a lot of them feel that prices will go up next year."

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