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Mill-grade aluminum scrap prices inch up

Keywords: Tags  LME, Nasaac, aluminum scrap, mixed low copper clips, secondary aluminum, mill-grade scrap, turnings, old sheet LME

NEW YORK — Secondary mill-grade aluminum prices have risen in step with the London Metal Exchange, with market participants noting "high volumes and strong demand."

Prices for 5052 segregated low-copper alloy clips moved to a range of 96 to 98 cents per pound Jan. 31, up 2 cents from 95 to 96 cents on Jan. 28, while 3105 clips rose to 85 to 87 cents per pound from 83 to 85 cents.

"We’ve had a bit of excitement as of late," one mill-grade seller said. "Buyers are quick to move when the market goes up. There isn’t a lot of metal to be had out there."

Mill-grade mixed low-copper clips increased by 2 cents to a range of 83 to 85 cents per pound from 81 to 83 cents, while painted siding strengthened to 78 to 80 cents per pound from 76 to 78 cents.

The cash primary aluminum contract on the LME ended the official session at $2,056 per tonne (93.3 cents per pound) Feb. 1, up 2.5 percent from $2,006.50 per tonne (91 cents per pound) Jan. 28.

Sources active in the primary market noted that the LME’s recent bolstering is largely attributable to noticeable improvements in construction spending, which gained 9.2 percent in 2012, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

"Sentiment seems to be that the LME will continue to rise," one source said.

In step with the LME, some secondary smelters’ aluminum scrap grades increased Jan. 31.

Prices for 1-1-3 sows rose to 80 to 82 cents per pound from 79 to 81 cents, while secondary-grade painted siding rose to 73 to 75 cents from 72 to 74 cents per pound.

"Scrap is not that readily available right now," one secondary aluminum scrap buyer said. "We’re not getting a whole lot of calls from people looking to make sales."

Old sheet strengthened by a penny to 73 to 75 cents per pound from 72 to 74 cents.

High-grade turnings were up 2 cents to 72 to 74 cents per pound from 70 to 72 cents, while mixed turnings moved to 66 to 67 cents per pound from 65 to 67 cents.

Secondary aluminum-copper radiators rose to $1.79 to $1.84 per pound from $1.76 to $1.81 per pound.

Used beverage cans (UBCs) increased to 79 to 80 cents per pound from 77 to 79 cents previously.

The cash North American special aluminum alloy contract (Nasaac) closed the LME’s official session at a two-week high of $1,900 per tonne (86.2 cents per pound) Jan. 31. It stepped back slightly Feb. 1 to finish at $1,890 per tonne (85.7 cents per pound) but was still up 2.7 percent from $1,841 per tonne (83.5 cents per pound) Jan. 28.

Meanwhile, prices for A380.1 held steady at $1.02 to $1.04 per pound, with market participants noting that "spreads for A380.1 will likely remain tight."

All other secondary aluminum grades were unchanged.

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