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Aluminum billet upcharges hold steady

Keywords: Tags  aluminum, billet, upcharge, Middle East, Emirates Global Aluminium, EGA, Norsk Hydro, Qatar Nathan Laliberte

NEW YORK — Aluminum billet upcharges remained unchanged this past week as market players said that strong demand continued to bolster the billet and extrusion markets.

AMM’s assessed 6063 extrusion billet upcharges held steady at 13.25 to 14 cents per pound.

"We are doing deals regularly in the 13.5-(cents-per-pound) range," one aluminum billet seller told AMM. "It’s a very healthy demand environment right now. Most people I speak with believe that it will continue through the summer and into fall."

Despite strong demand and a healthy upcharge, several billet producers said there is growing concern over rumors that billet imported from the Middle East is being sold into the domestic market at below-market levels.

"There is always a bunch of Middle East billet that comes in every year, mostly from (Emirates Global Aluminium) and also (Norsk Hydro ASA’s) smelter in Qatar. There are no duties on this product, but it is usually priced pretty responsibly," a second billet seller said. "Now we are hearing rumblings that some of it is being priced lower than the market."

U.S.-based metal brokers may be behind the lower prices, he said.

"We know that some of this material is being brokered by individuals who don’t necessarily have a vested interest in getting the highest price," he said, adding that the situation had not yet developed into a widespread problem requiring industrywide action. "This whole Middle East billet thing hasn’t quite gotten to the point where people are really concerned. We’ll wait and see what happens."

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