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Mill-grade aluminum scrap prices fall

Keywords: Tags  aluminum scrap, aluminum, scrap, London Metal Exchange, LME, Nasaac, UBCs, secondary alloys mill-grade scrap

NEW YORK — Mill-grade aluminum scrap prices eased Feb. 19, with market participants noting that talk of tightness might have been slightly overblown.

Prices for 5052 segregated low-copper alloy clips fell to 97 to 99 cents per pound from 98 cents to $1 per pound Feb. 14, while 3105 clips fell a penny to 87 to 89 cents per pound from 88 to 90 cents.

Mill-grade mixed lower copper alloy clips also fell to 84 to 86 cents per pound from 85 to 87 cents, while painted siding narrowed to 80 to 81 cents from 80 to 82 cents in the same comparison.

"I don’t think scrap is as tight as people are saying. We are pretty much on schedule, still able to fill orders," one mill-grade buyer said.

"We had a nice run-up last week," a second mill-grade buyer said. "Everyone is getting quiet because they are no longer running short on material. The market will change once people start to run out of scrap."

Meanwhile, some secondary aluminum alloy grades increased Feb. 19, sources said.

Prices for 319.1 tightened to $1.09 to $1.10 per pound from $1.08 to $1.10 previously, while 356.1 strengthened by a penny to $1.12 to $1.13 per pound from $1.11 to $1.12 per pound Feb. 14.

The London Metal Exchange's cash North American special alloy contract (Nasaac) followed primary aluminum lower, ending at $1,920 per tonne (87.1 cents per pound) Feb. 20, unchanged from a day earlier but down slightly from $1,931 per tonne (87.6 cents per pound) Feb. 14.

Prices for A380.1, which typically trend with the Nasaac, were unchanged at $1.04 to $1.06 per pound Feb. 19, although market participants continued to warn of potential supply shortages.

"We will not produce A380 unless there is an opportunity to make a profit," one secondary alloy producer said. "We would probably sell at $1.07, but that is our rock bottom."

The cash primary aluminum contract on the LME ended the official session at $2,065.50 per tonne (93.7 cents per pound) Feb. 20, down 0.5 percent from $2,075.50 per tonne (94.1 cents pound) a day earlier and 1.9 percent below the Feb. 14 level of $2,115 per tonne (95.9 cents per pound).

In step with terminal markets, prices for some secondary smelters’ aluminum scrap grades weakened Feb. 19, market participants said.

Mixed low copper clips fell to 77 to 78 cents per pound from 78 to 80 cents, while old cast narrowed to 75 to 76 cents from 75 to 77 cents.

Used beverage cans also fell 1 cent to 79 to 81 cents from 80 to 82 cents.

The only secondary grade that strengthened Feb. 19 was mixed turnings, which rose a penny to 67 to 69 cents per pound from 67 to 68 cents previously. All other scrap grades were unchanged.

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