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Mill-grade aluminum scrap up with LME rise

Keywords: Tags  Mill-grade aluminum, aluminum scrap, secondary aluminum, scrap prices, aluminum, LME, Nasaac, UBCs A380.1

NEW YORK — Some mill-grade aluminum scrap prices increased April 8 as strengthening terminal markets coupled with steady demand lent support to the secondary market.

The price range for 5052 segregated low-copper alloy clips narrowed to 89 to 90 cents per pound from 88 to 90 cents April 4; 3105 clips increased to 81 to 83 cents per pound from 80 to 82 cents; and mill-grade mixed low-copper alloy clips rose to 79 to 81 cents per pound from 78 to 80 cents. Painted siding held steady at 74 to 76 cents per pound.

"Mill grades have stayed steady largely because ... we simply don’t have enough supply," one mill-grade seller said. "We have gotten quite a few calls from consumers who don’t normally do business with us. They want to make sure that the quotes from their normal suppliers are not higher than the market."

The cash primary aluminum contract on the London Metal Exchange ended the official session April 9 at $1,858.50 per tonne (84.3 cents per pound), up 1.4 percent from $1,833.50 per tonne (83.2 cents per pound) April 4.

Meanwhile, prices for most secondary smelter grades were unchanged April 8, with sources indicating that trading activity usually weakens ahead of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries’ annual convention and exposition, which kicked off April 9 in Orlando, Fla.

"A lot of the sellers will wait until they get to the convention to sell," one trader said. "It’s always good to have something in your back pocket ... something that will be good for taking to a meeting."

Of the secondary grades, used beverage cans (UBCs) registered the only price change, widening to 75 to 77 cents per pound from 75 to 76 cents previously.

Secondary alloy prices also were steady April 8, as producers said tightness in the scrap market continued to present significant headwinds to maintaining margins.

"Right now, we are picking the ripe apples off the tree and letting the rest go," one producer source said. "We have to have the resolve to maintain strong price discipline. Demand is excellent and we simply won’t adjust prices to meet lower quotes."

Prices were unchanged for A380.1 at $1.04 to $1.05 per pound, 319.1 at $1.09 to $1.10 per pound, and 356.1, A360.1 and A413.1 all at $1.11 to $1.12 per pound.

The LME’s cash North American special aluminum alloy contract (Nasaac) ended the official session April 9 at $1,790 per tonne (81.2 cents per pound), up 1.7 percent from $1,760 per tonne (79.8 cents per pound) April 4.

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