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Aluminum scrap prices fall with LME

Keywords: Tags  Aluminum scrap, London Metal Exchange, LME, Nasaac, A380.1, aluminum alloys, painted siding, old sheet UBCs

NEW YORK — Most aluminum scrap grade prices declined Feb. 28, with market participants telling AMM that weakening exchange prices coupled with recent turmoil overseas were beginning to take a toll on secondary markets.

Prices for 5052 segregated low-copper alloy clips fell to 92 to 94 cents per pound from 94 to 96 cents Feb. 25; 3105 clips declined to 83 to 85 cents per pound from 85 to 86 cents; mill-grade mixed low-copper alloy clips weakened to 81 to 82 cents per pound from 82 to 84 cents; and the range for painted siding narrowed to 77 to 78 cents per pound from 77 to 79 cents.

The cash primary aluminum contract on the London Metal Exchange ended the Feb. 28 official session at $1,960 per tonne (88.9 cents per pound), down 2.2 percent from $2,004 per tonne (90.9 cents per pound) Feb. 25.

"Automotive and housing seem(ed) to be going strong, things were looking up—then everything starts to go the other way," one mill-grade seller said. "It’s pretty frustrating. Either way, when prices come back, which I think they will, people are going to have pay the piper."

Meanwhile, prices for most secondary smelters’ grades also followed terminal markets down, sources said.

Prices for mixed high-copper clips fell to 76 to 78 cents per pound Feb. 28 from 77 to 79 cents previously; mixed high-zinc clips weakened to 69 to 71 cents per pound from 70 to 72 cents; 1-1-3 sows moved to 78 to 80 cents per pound from 79 to 81 cents; painted siding fell to 73 to 75 cents per pound from 74 to 76 cents; old sheet slipped to 72 to 74 cents per pound from 73 to 75 cents; and high-grade turnings and mixed-grade turnings each weakened by a penny to 72 to 74 cents and 66 to 68 cents, respectively.

Aluminum-copper radiators fell to a range of $1.75 to $1.80 per pound from $1.78 to $1.83, and used beverage cans fell to 75 to 77 cents per pound from 76 to 78 cents.

"Despite lower markets, scrap is still tight," one scrap trader said. "If there were not a shortage of primary aluminum, I think we would see secondary markets falling even lower."

The LME’s cash North American special aluminum alloy contract (Nasaac) ended the Feb. 28 official session at a 30-day low, closing at $1,845 per tonne (83.7 cents per pound), down 2.4 percent from $1,890.50 per tonne (85.7 cents per pound) Feb. 25.

Reacting to the overall weakness in terminal markets, some aluminum alloy prices declined Feb. 28, with market sources telling AMM that sellers are still trying to hold the line on prices.

The price range for 319.1 widened to $1.09 to $1.11 per pound from $1.10 to $1.11 previously; 356.1 fell to $1.11 to $1.12 per pound from $1.12 to $1.13; and A413.1 slid to $1.10 to $1.12 per pound from $1.11 to $1.12.

"If the LME stays down long enough, alloy prices will start to fall more dramatically," an alloy producer told AMM. "There is still strong demand for ingot, but scrap has been very competitive and spreads are still very narrow."

All other secondary scrap grades remained unchanged.

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