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US zinc premiums steady in tight market

Keywords: Tags  zinc premiums, zinc supply, special high grade zinc, SHG zinc, zinc alloy premiums, Daniel Fitzgerald

NEW YORK — Special-high-grade zinc premiums remained steady this week, although some market participants say the material has become difficult to obtain.

Premiums continued to trade in a range of 7.5 to 8.5 cents per pound, with consumers split on which end of the range was seeing the most activity.

"Zinc has been hard to get. It doesn’t seem like anybody has any around right now. We bought some today and had to pay 8.5 cents per pound for it, and we’d been getting it regularly at 8," one consumer said.

"We haven’t been paying nearly that much on special high-grade," a second consumer said, reporting transactions at 7.5 cents per pound. "I don’t think that price is reflective of current economic activity. I’d say it’s a little overcooked."

Two traders told AMM that they hadn’t done any special-high-grade zinc business this week, with one claiming that he "didn’t have any to sell."

Large volumes of zinc remain tied up in warehouse financing deals, with 768,075 tonnes sitting in London Metal Exchange-listed stores in New Orleans and 116,225 tonnes in Detroit on March 11.

"(The warehousing situation) is probably not going to get any better anytime soon," he said.

The LME’s three-month zinc price closed the official session at $2,001.50 per tonne (90.8 cents per pound) March 13, down from $2,080.50 (94.4 cents per pound) Feb. 28.

The recent drop in LME pricing has "given some people buying opportunities," one zinc alloy producer said.

"The LME took a nice dip at the end of last week and start of this week, so a couple of folks jumped in and bought for the quarter," he said. "It spurs activity, which is nice."

Alloy premiums were also unchanged, with No. 3 alloy continuing to trade in a range of 18 to 20 cents per pound.

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