A380 prices continue to find support; other alloys steady
By Sarah Baltic in Washington
December 18, 2012 - The US secondary aluminum market continued to find support as more producers reported obtaining higher sales numbers on certain alloys.
The Platts A380 price rose to $1.02-1.04 cents/lb on December 17, up half a cent from the previous assessment on December 13, while other alloys remained firmly unchanged, even with the slight fall off in NASAAC prices on the London Metal Exchange on December 17.
Producers said they would continue to look to next year and refused to sell at lower numbers previously heard in the market.
"Why do scrap prices keep going up, the LME is going up, but prices are still the same?" said one producer. "Scrap prices are too high relative to what we can get for [ingot.] The full story isn’t being told."
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The producer said he thought NASAAC deals were weighing down the market and skewing it lower, when in reality true spot sales were being done at higher levels.
He sold A380 at $1.04/lb on December 17, a price he said was indicative of the "real 380" market.
Another producer said he was selling A380 at $1.02 and also made one sale at $1.03. He said there were less, if any, $1.01s out there, and $1.04s were still few and far between.
The producer pointed to the continued source of discontent in the market – the disconnection of NASAAC to the real secondary aluminum market — and said, "Scrap is tighter and NASAAC is down. Makes a lot of sense, right?"
Other producers said they were trying to get $1.04 for A380 but weren't able to yet, while some said they sold for as high as $1.05.
One producer who sold A380 at $1.03 for December delivery said he was quoting $1.04 now for January delivery.
"Hopefully we will get a little support from the LME and [prices will go up]," he said. "We need to create more margins in order to stay healthy and happy in the New Year."
Most diecasters surveyed by Platts said they were full on their needs and did not have to buy additional units. "I'm pretty bought through the end of the year," said one diecaster.
However, another diecaster reported a spot A380 deal on December 17 at 96 cents, but further questions about the deal went unanswered.
Meanwhile in scrap, most grades remained steady at previous levels, even with the two cent increase in LME prices since December 13.
"Most mills are limited on appointments for the rest of the year so everyone is quoting for January," said one scrap dealer who was selling old cast for 73-76 cents/lb, delivered Midwest, and old sheet for 73-74 cents on December 17.
"As for secondaries, some are still quoting, and some of the others are pushing us off until January." He said some secondary numbers have moved up a bit because "options are dwindling as we get towards Christmas."
The Platts price for old cast remained at 73-75 cents, while old sheet rose to 72-74 cents. Multiple sellers reported getting higher numbers for old sheet, because the demand for the grade was up.
A secondary smelter buyer who was paying 74 cents for old cast and 72 cents for old sheet said all the scrap dealers were requesting delivery before year-end.
Other buyers reported wanting to wait until January to buy additional scrap units, but getting the same request from dealers for pre-end-of-the-year delivery.
Turnings remained unchanged at 70-72 cents, and Mill-grade MLCCs stayed at 82-84 cents.
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