NEW YORK Mill-grade aluminum scrap prices slipped Jan. 28 in step with the London Metal Exchange, with market participants noting limited activity on worsening margins.
Prices for 5052 segregated low-copper alloy clips were in a range of 94 to 96 cents per pound, down from 95 to 97 cents Jan. 24, while 3105 clips dipped to 83 to 85 cents per pound from 84 to 86 cents.
Mill-grade mixed low-copper clips fell to a range of 81 to 83 cents per pound from 82 to 84 cents, while painted siding weakened to 76 to 78 cents per pound from 77 to 79 cents.
"Our products have to be affordable," one mill-grade scrap seller said. "Higher prices will put buyers right out of this market."
"Its been pretty quiet," another mill-grade seller said. "Things seem to be trending closely with the LME. People are just waiting to see what happens."
Cash primary aluminum ended the LME official session at $2,006.50 per tonne (91 cents per pound) Jan. 28, down 1 percent from $2,027 per tonne (91.9 cents per pound) Jan. 24.
"Everybody is fighting for scrap right now," a third mill-grade seller said. "One guy selling cheap can bring the whole market down. Blowing people out of the water is not the way to do things."
Secondary aluminum scrap grades were unchanged except for mixed high-copper clips, which widened to a range of 75 to 77 cents per pound from 76 to 77 cents. Used beverage cans (UBCs) remained steady at 77 to 79 cents per pound.
The LME cash North American special aluminum alloy contract (Nasaac) fell for the fourth consecutive day, ending the official session at $1,841 per tonne (83.5 cents per pound) Jan. 28, down 1.5 percent from $1,869 per tonne (84.8 cents per pound) Jan. 24.
Prices for A380.1 stayed steady at $1.02 to $1.04 per pound, with some sellers indicating a need to push for higher prices.
"Scrap values have not come off and we can no longer work on these undesirable spreads," said one seller of secondary aluminum alloy.
All other secondary aluminum scrap grades also were unchanged.