Aluminum Mill Orders, Auto OEM Transition From Steel Lead to LME Price Decline

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The week was a mixed bag for aluminum. Mill order declines were still being felt as the North American net new aluminum mill order index in February was down 7.1% from January, but demand for aluminum by automakers continues to increase as many switch from steel for use in the bodies of vehicles, including BMW, Ford and Volkswagen.

A tidal wave of construction of aluminum alloy automotive sheet projects is under way across the globe, with the largest investors being Novelis and Alcoa.

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The week’s biggest mover on the weekly Aluminum MMI® was the 3-month price of aluminum, which saw a 1.5 percent decline on the LME to $1,759 per metric ton. This comes on the heels of a 0.3 percent increase the week before. Following a 0.4 percent increase in the week prior, the primary aluminum cash price fell 1.4 percent on the LME last week to $1,716 per metric ton. Since last week, the price of the Indian aluminum cash price fell 1.1 percent.

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Chinese aluminum prices were mixed for the week as well. The cash price of Chinese aluminum fell 1.4 percent over the past week. This was the third week in a row of declining prices. Chinese aluminum bar prices held steady from the previous week. Chinese aluminum billet remained unchanged for the week.

The price of Korean 3003 coil premium over 1050 sheet did not change since the previous week. Following a steady week, prices for Korean 5052 coil premium over 1050 sheet closed flat. The week finished with no movement for European 5083 plate. Prices for European 1050 aluminum remained constant.

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The Aluminum MMI® collects and weights 12 global aluminum price points to provide a unique view into aluminum price trends. 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.