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Aluminum wheel prices dip but demand holds

Keywords: Tags  scrap, aluminum wheels, 356.1 alloy, P1020, Nathan Laliberte

NEW YORK — Prices for scrap aluminum wheels have fallen 2 cents per pound from last month, but tags continue to be buoyed by strong demand from producers of 356.1 alloy, market participants said.

Free-market transaction prices for 356.1 wheels are in a range of 88 to 92 cents per pound, down from 90 to 94 cents in February, traders said. One buyer reported seeing some prices as high as 96 cents per pound despite the overall decline.

"While we had been offering 91 to 92 cents for rims, we ran into some producers buying rims at 95 and 96 cents," the buyer said. "It’s cheaper to buy rims at 95 cents than to buy P1020 at 99 cents and add silicon to produce some lower prime equivalent 356 alloys, especially if you don’t have many scrap options other than P1020."

"Tight margins continue to present challenges in all aspects of the scrap market, including rims," a second buyer said. "I know there are offers out there in the low 90-cent range, but I have made sales mostly at 88 to 89 cents."

Month-to-month demand was mostly unchanged, sources told AMM. Describing 356 wheels as "somewhat protected right now," a third buyer noted that "competition for the product is pretty high, mainly because alloy prices have remained steady amid a shaky market."

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