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Aluminum wheels prices could be set to fall

Keywords: Tags  Aluminum wheels, scrap, price, aluminum rims, 356.1, LME, Nathan Laliberte

NEW YORK — Prices for scrap aluminum wheels have remained relatively steady since the middle of June, but market sources said that a glut of material coupled with annual summer shutdowns at mills could bring tags down in the coming weeks.

Free-market transaction prices for 356.1 wheels are in a range of 85 to 88 cents per pound, unchanged since June 17, sources said.

“We are getting a lot of material offered to us,” one buyer told AMM. “In fact, we have been getting a lot of calls from people we have never heard of. Overall, we are paying around 85 to 86 cents per pound for rims, which is pretty much what we were paying last month.”

The primary aluminum cash contract on the London Metal Exchange ended the July 8 official session at $1,736.50 per tonne (78.8 cents per pound), down nearly 3 percent from $1,789.50 per tonne (81.2 cents per pound) June 17.

Prices for scrap aluminum wheels have remained supported despite the decline on the LME, market participants said.

“Rim prices are still above the historic relation to the LME,” a second buyer said. “We should be paying in the 80-cent range for rims.”

He noted that he had seen new players enter the market, which usually causes spreads to tighten. “When new people come in the marketplace they always drive the price up because they are looking to take business away from the established players.”

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