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Some mill-grade aluminum scrap prices up

Keywords: Tags  aluminum scrap, secondary aluminum, LME, London Metal Exchange, Nasaac, A380.1, mill-grade aluminum scrap, used beverage cans UBCs

NEW YORK — Prices for some grades of mill-grade aluminum scrap rose March 14 as market participants noted that a recent recovery in terminal markets had helped support secondary tags.

Prices for 5052 segregated low copper alloy clips rose a penny to 91 to 93 cents per pound from 90 to 92 cents March 11, while 3105 clips increased to 83 to 85 cents per pound from 82 to 84 cents. Meanwhile, mill-grade mixed low copper alloy clips held steady at 80 to 82 cents per pound, while painted siding inched up to 75 to 76 cents per pound from 74 to 76 cents.

The cash primary aluminum contract on the London Metal Exchange ended the official session at $1,944 per tonne (88.2 cents per pound) March 15, up 2.6 percent from $1,895.50 per tonne (86 cents per pound) March 11.

Meanwhile, prices for most secondary smelters’ scrap grades were unchanged March 14, with sources noting that minor fluctuations on the LME weren’t enough to induce price adjustments in the secondary market.

The only secondary grade to show upward movement March 14 was used beverage cans (UBCs), which widened to a range of 75 to 77 cents per pound from 75 to 76 cents previously.

The LME’s cash North American special aluminum alloy contract (Nasaac) recovered to $1,835 per tonne (83.2 cents per pound) at the close of the LME’s official session March 15, up 3 percent from the nearly two-and-a-half-year low of $1,781 per tonne (80.8 cents per pound) March 11.

Despite Nasaac’s upward movement, some secondary alloy prices fell March 14 as sellers continued to complain of a growing disconnect between alloy tags and the published Nasaac price.

"Nasaac is a damn scam. ... It’s unimaginable that the people who produce alloys don’t come out nearly as well as the people who trade them. ... (Does) something seem wrong with that picture?" one alloy producer asked.

"We haven’t been this disconnected from LME in a very long time," a second alloy producer said. "We’ve been on an opposite pass from Nasaac for six or seven months now, and it’s only getting worse."

A380.1 prices tightened to $1.04 to $1.05 per pound from $1.04 to $1.06 per pound, as sources told AMM that efforts to achieve sales in the $1.06- to $1.07-per-pound range were largely unsuccessful. In addition, 319.1 narrowed to $1.09 to $1.10 per pound from $1.09 to $1.11 March 11.

All other major alloy prices remained unchanged March 14, with 356.1 steady at $1.11 to $1.12 per pound, and low copper A360.1 and A413.1 alloys at $1.10 to $1.11 and $1.10 to $1.12 per pound, respectively.

"Trying to get a scrap dealer to come down on prices when inventories are low is next to impossible," a third alloy producer said. "Couple that with the fact that we are being squeezed on the sale side and you can see why we are struggling to achieve proper margins."

All other secondary scrap grades were unchanged.

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