Monthly Aluminum MMI® Falls 1% to 98

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 The monthly Aluminum MMI® registered a value of 98 in February, a decrease of 1 percent from 99 in January.

The aluminum price index fell on the back of softer China pricing for primary aluminum and billet and for European semi-finished products.

“We continue to have an interesting situation with aluminum in that global manufacturing activity continues to support aluminum demand and mid-west premiums continue at record levels,” said Lisa Reisman, managing editor of MetalMiner.

Indeed, both LME premiums and US midwest premiums are both soaring, and the warehouse financing game isn’t helping. Nick Madden, vice president and chief procurement officer for Novelis, spoke out against the LME’s approach to Reuters, saying that although the exchange sympathizes with aluminum consumers, they’re not motivated to make any internal changes, but rather point to the market as the problem.

Meanwhile, Tim Reyes, president of Alcoa Materials Management, said that “the primary aluminum market will be essentially balanced in 2013, with a surplus of 535,000 tonnes,” as quoted by Metal Bulletin recently.

But, according to Reisman, “the US market also faces some billet production cutbacks, yet the aluminum market finds itself in somewhat bearish mode and analysts such as Harbor Aluminum have advised clients to cover short-term buys.”

Primary Price Drivers of the Aluminum Index

After rising 1.7 percent the previous month, European 5083 plate prices dropped 2.5 percent to EUR 2,654 ($3,612) per metric ton. Last month, the cash price of primary Indian aluminum rose 0.5 percent to INR 109.60 ($2.06) per kilogram.

The value of Chinese aluminum billet weakened by 1.4 percent this month, settling at CNY 14,850 ($2,388) per metric ton. Chinese aluminum scrap prices decreased by 0.8 percent this month, ending at CNY 12,650 ($2,034) per metric ton. The Chinese aluminum cash price decreased by 0.6 percent this month, ending at CNY 14,920 ($2,399) per metric ton.

The 3-month price of aluminum saw a small increase on the LME this month, rising from $2,071 to $2,110 per metric ton.

The Aluminum MMI® collects and weights 12 global aluminum price points to provide a unique view into aluminum price trends over a 30-day period. For more information on the Aluminum MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.