More of the Same For Aluminum Price Outlook, But Monthly Index Holds

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Metal Prices, Premium

Relatively speaking, aluminum prices have held up surprisingly well.

After five straight months of flat or downward movement, this month’s Aluminum MMI® moved up by one point to 94. The slight increase in the monthly aluminum price index comes as a result of rising China cash and scrap prices, European 5083 plate prices and rising Indian cash prices. Other prices that make up the monthly index held flat or fell slightly.

Sixty-three percent of metal suppliers, downstream consumers and other buyers at Harbor Aluminum’s annual Outlook Summit, taking place this week, expect LME aluminum prices to average between $2,000-2,200 per ton in 2014, according to a live poll. Nearly half of attendees see the market as overvalued, and many said they fear the Chinese demand and manufacturing slowdown in the second half of this year.

Novelis, presenting a bullish look at their automotive side of the business at the conference, is one aluminum major that expects auto to drive demand in the next several years. According to MetalMiner editor Stuart Burns, the shortage of automotive sheet capacity in Europe has been a feature for some years, so Novelis’ announcement that they are converting some of their capacity at Gottingen, Germany, to produce automotive sheet is hardly ahead of the market, but will come as welcome news to consumers.

Monthly Aluminum Price Movements

The monthly Aluminum MMI® registered a value of 94 in June, an increase of 1.1 percent from 93 in May.

After dropping the previous month, the cash price of primary Indian aluminum prices rose 10.2 percent to $1.89 per kilogram. Chinese aluminum scrap prices rose 5.1 percent to $2,146 per metric ton. The cash price of Chinese aluminum rose 1.7 percent to $2,409 per metric ton after falling the previous month. After dropping the previous month, the price of Chinese aluminum billet prices rose 1.4 percent to $2,388 per metric ton. At $3,519 per metric ton, the price of European 5083 plate increased 0.7 percent. The cash price of primary aluminum rose 0.5 percent on the LME to $1,856 per metric ton after falling the previous month. After dropping the previous month, the 3-month price of aluminum prices rose 0.2 percent on the LME to $1,889 per metric ton.

At $2,779 per metric ton, European 1050 aluminum was down 0.7 percent for the month.

The price of Korean 3003 coil premium over 1050 sheet held steady around $3.73 per kilogram last month. Korean 5052 coil premium over 1050 sheet experienced a flat month, staying around $3.86 per kilogram. Hovering around $2,290 per metric ton for the month, Chinese aluminum bar remained unchanged. Last month was consistent for Korean 1050 aluminum sheet, which did not move from $3.68 per kilogram.

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.