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Mill-grade aluminum scrap climbs on LME rise

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

NEW YORK — Prices for mill-grade aluminum scrap strengthened across the board July 22, with secondary tags moving largely in response to recent upticks on the London Metal Exchange, according to market sources.

Prices for 5052 segregated low-copper alloy clips increased to 86 to 88 cents per pound from 84 to 86 cents previously, 3105 clips edged up to 78 to 80 cents per pound from 76 to 78 cents, mixed low-copper alloy clips rose to 75 to 77 cents per pound from 74 to 76 cents and painted siding strengthened to 72 to 74 cents per pound from 71 to 73 cents.

"These price moves are not necessarily a reflection of actual supply and demand," one scrap trader said. "Mill-grade aluminum scrap tends to move in lockstep with the LME, regardless of what is actually happening on the ground."

Prices for smelter-grade aluminum scrap were mostly steady July 22, with market participants saying that most producers indicated there was no incentive to raise quotes, regardless of strengthening terminal markets.

"We are buying against a market where we are bringing in more than we are selling," one scrap buyer told AMM. "There is really no need to raise prices at this point. We have the material we need."

A second buyer said that most consumers were not chasing material. "It’s summer and a lot of secondaries are somewhat heavy, scrapwise," he said.

Aluminum used beverage cans (UBCs) was the only secondary grade to register a price change, moving up to 72 to 73 cents per pound from 70 to 71 cents previously.

The primary aluminum cash contract on the LME ended the official session July 22 at $1,794.50 per tonne (81.4 cents per pound), up 2.4 percent from $1,753 per tonne (79.5 cents per pound) July 18. The contract traded at $1,801.50 per tonne (81.7 cents per pound) July 23.

Secondary alloy tags continued to hold steady, with sources saying that demand from the automotive sector was showing no indications of ebbing.

"August is going to be a big month," one alloy producer source said. "My contract orders into automotive are very healthy. We would like to buy scrap in bigger amounts and I wish something would open up a bit, but we can’t do that at the moment."

Prices for A380.1 remained at $1.01 to $1.03 per pound and 319.1 at $1.07 to $1.09 per pound. Prices for 356.1, as well as the low-copper A360.1 and A413.1 alloys, were all steady at $1.08 to $1.10 per pound.

All other secondary scrap grades were unchanged.

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