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Aluminum alloy tags fall on looser scrap supply

Keywords: Tags  secondary aluminum alloys, alloy prices, scrap prices, aluminum, aluminum scrap, LME, London Metal Exchange, A380.1 Nathan Laliberte

NEW YORK — Secondary aluminum alloy prices dipped May 9, with a slight loosening of scrap supply allowing producers to acquire raw materials at more attractive levels.

"We have definitely been able to get scrap a little cheaper this (past) week," one alloy producer said. "Some people seem really aggressive to sell."

Prices for A380.1, which held steady for nearly a month, widened to $1.03 to $1.05 per pound from $1.04 to $1.05 previously.

"We have been hearing rumblings that the Chinese are reducing their consumption of scrap," a second producer said, adding that a prolonged reduction in Chinese purchasing could improve the domestic supply picture. "We are buying at lower prices. ... Hopefully, the trend will continue."

Prices for 319.1 and 356.1 each fell a penny to $1.08 to $1.09 per pound and $1.10 to $1.11 per pound, respectively. The range on A413.1 widened to $1.09 to $1.11 per pound from $1.10 to $1.11 May 6.

"We are lowering quotes because scrap seems to be loosening up across the board," one scrap buyer told AMM. "Everything is dropping, especially as China seems to be taking a back seat, and we can’t justify paying (prices of a week ago)."

The cash primary aluminum contract on the London Metal Exchange ended the official session at $1,864.50 per tonne (84.6 cents per pound) May 9, up 2 percent from $1,828 per tonne (82.9 cents per pound) May 3. But prices slipped Friday, ending the official session at $1,848 per tonne.

Despite the LME’s recovery, most grades of secondary smelters’ aluminum held steady May 9, as sources said that perceived improvements in domestic supply were keeping prices from rising in step with terminal markets.

The only grade to register a price change was used beverage cans (UBCs), which moved up to 76 to 78 cents per pound from 75 to 77 cents May 6.

Meanwhile, prices for mill-grade aluminum scrap were up across the board May 9, with some sellers holding material in the hopes of near-term rises on the LME, market participants said.

Prices for 5052 segregated low-copper alloy clips increased 2 cents to 89 to 91 cents per pound from 87 to 89 cents, 3105 clips strengthened to 81 to 83 cents from 80 to 82 cents per pound, mill-grade mixed low-copper alloy clips rose a penny to 79 to 81 cents per pound from 78 to 80 cents, and painted siding edged up to 76 to 78 cents per pound from 75 to 77 cents.

All other secondary grades were unchanged.

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