NEW YORK Free-market mill-grade aluminum scrap prices increased Thursday as the London Metal Exchange recovered from its Monday plunge, although some scrap buyers reported difficulty in obtaining material due to tight flows.
Prices for 3105 segregated clips rose to 85 to 86 cents per pound from 82 to 84 cents, while mixed low-copper clips increased to 82 to 84 cents from 79 to 81 cents.
Aluminum-copper radiators are now at $1.74 to $1.79 per pound, up from $1.71 to $1.76 previously, while 1-1-3 sows moved up to a range of 79 to 81 cents per pound from 78 to 80 cents.
The price for A319.1 alloy rose to $1.08 to $1.09 per pound from $1.07 to $1.09, while A380.1 was unchanged at $1.02 to $1.04 per pound.
The cash North American special aluminum alloy contract (Nasaac) closed the LMEs official session at $1,900.50 per tonne (86.2 cents per pound) Friday, up 3.3 percent from Tuesdays close at $1,840 per tonne (83.5 cents per pound).
Prices were largely steady, much as they were during a plunge in LME pricing on Monday (amm.com, Jan. 8), secondary scrap market participants said.
"All the prices stayed the same through all of that. All that happened was that things slowed down on the day of the big drop," one scrap buyer said.
Many buyers reported that scrap flows were tightening, with some unsure if it was part of a seasonal slowdown during the onset of winter.
"Everybody is scratching their heads. Usually for this time of year youd say its a weather issue, but this year its not," one trader said.
However, "theres metal moving and were buying what we need. Of course wed always like there to be better flow. I actually think flow is halfway decent for the time of year that it is," a second scrap buyer said. "When the LME dropped, metal dried up. But thats not an issue of flow; thats dealers waiting for a higher price. That activity has been increasing as the LME has come back up."
Meanwhile, one die caster said he had bought spot A380.1 at $1.02 per pound, having been quoted $1.03 per pound by the majority of producers. But one alloy producer continued to report truckload sales at $1.05 per pound.
"We kinda wiped out our margin at $1.03, and were struggling to get $1.04," a second alloy producer said.