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Aluminum scrap prices down on supply glut

Keywords: Tags  aluminum scrap, LME, A380.1, mill-grade aluminum, secondary alloys, LME, aluminum prices, scrap prices Nathan Laliberte

NEW YORK — Most prices for smelter-grade aluminum scrap fell June 17 as improved supply and lower exchange prices weighed on the secondary market, sources said.

The price range for secondary smelters’ mixed low-copper clips widened to 72 to 74 cents per pound from 73 to 74 cents on June 13, mixed high-copper clips weakened to 72 to 73 cents per pound from 72 to 74 cents and painted siding moved to 70 to 72 cents per pound from 71 to 73 cents. Mixed clips fell to 70 to 72 cents per pound from 71 to 73 cents and old cast slipped to 70 to 71 cents per pound from 71 to 72 cents.

U.S. aluminum producers’ used beverage can (UBC) prices decreased to 72 to 73 cents per pound from 72 to 74 cents.

"As far as secondary scrap is concerned, we have plenty," one scrap buyer said. "I don’t get how the yards I talk to say that inbound flow is slow. Automotive is very strong, housing is doing better, things are improving. It’s making me wonder what’s really going on."

The primary aluminum cash contract on the London Metal Exchange ended the official session June 17 at $1,789.50 per tonne (81.2 cents per pound), down 1.3 percent from $1,813 per tonne (82.2 cents per pound) June 13, although it inched up to $1,795 per tonne (81.4 cents per pound) June 18.

Prices for mill-grade scrap also weakened as demand dipped, market participants said. Prices for 5052 segregated low-copper alloy clips fell to 86 to 88 cents per pound from 87 to 89 cents, 3105 clips slipped to 77 to 79 cents per pound from 78 to 80 cents, mill-grade mixed low-copper alloy clips decreased to 75 to 77 cents per pound from 76 to 78 cents and painted siding moved down to 72 to 74 cents per pound from 73 to 75 cents.

Most secondary alloy tags continued to hold steady June 17; the exception was A380.1, which weakened to $1.02 to $1.03 per pound from $1.02 to $1.04.

Most producers said that A380.1 sales were down about a penny from last week, with some noting that a weaker scrap market was starting to take a toll on alloy prices.

"With the market dropping, people have been a lot more competitive in terms of pricing lately," one alloy producer source said. "There are more people that are exclusively producing 380 these days, which means they may be trying to get rid of material before the market drops even more."

Meanwhile, 319.1 held at $1.07 to $1.09 per pound, 356.1 at $1.10 to $1.11 and low-copper A360.1 and A413.1 alloys at $1.09 to $1.10 and $1.10 to $1.11, respectively.

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