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Mill-grade aluminum scrap price fall

Keywords: Tags  aluminum scrap, scrap prices, secondary aluminum alloys, mill-grade scrap, A380.1, LME, London Metal Exchange, Nasaac Daniel Fitzgerald

NEW YORK — Mill-grade aluminum scrap prices have logged some hefty declines while secondary aluminum scrap and alloy prices remain largely unchanged as strong demand and reports of tightening scrap flows lend support.

Prices for 1-1-3 sows fell to a range of 78 to 80 cents per pound from 79 to 81 cents previously, while mixed high-zinc clips dropped to 67 to 69 cents from 68 to 70 cents per pound.

Used beverage cans (UBCs) moved to 77 to 79 cents per pound picked up, down sharply from 82 to 84 cents per pound previously; 3105 segregated clippings to 82 to 84 cents per pound, down from 85 to 87 cents; and mill-grade painted siding to 75 to 77 cents per pound, down from 79 to 81 cents.

Mill-grade aluminum and UBC prices fell due a decline in prices on the London Metal Exchange, according to market participants.
The cash North American special aluminum alloy contract (Nasaac) traded at $1,840 per tonne (83.5 cents per pound) in the London Metal Exchange’s official session Tuesday, down 3.2 percent from Friday’s offical price of $1,900 per tonne (86.2 cents per pound).

Scrap market participants told AMM that most free-market secondary scrap prices hadn’t followed the LME lower because demand was still strong, particularly as many companies returned to full production after the holiday season.

“It depends on where you’re at. If you’re short and it’s winter, you’re going to pay whatever,” one buyer said.

“We would love to drop prices in the face of the falling LME, but I don’t think it’s a good strategy right now,” a second buyer said.
Tightening scrap flows associated with progressively colder weather was also a factor, one broker said.

“They’re not short, but they still need metal. Prices may come down if they fill their bellies a little, but they’re not able to buy anything right now,” he said. “By Wednesday, if the LME stays where it’s at or drops, then the free-market prices will drop.”

The intransigence of scrap prices was also keeping alloy prices stable, alloy producers said.

A380.1 continuing to trade in a range of $1.02 to $1.04 per pound.

“We’re not going to drop prices automatically. When the LME has been going up people have been hesitant to pay more, so we’re going to do the same when it goes down,” one producer said.

“I suspect we could sell easily at $1.03, but the scrap price is not allowing us to sell at that,” a second alloy producer who is quoting at $1.04 per pound for A380.1 added.

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