This Morning in Metals: Import prices tick up slightly in November

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This morning in metals news: U.S. import prices rose slightly in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics; the Pilbara Ports Authority reported November shipping data;  and, finally, there is speculation the U.S. could reimpose sanctions on Russian aluminum giant Rusal, Bloomberg reported.

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Import prices rise in November

Import prices picked up by 0.1% in November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported.

Higher fuel prices made imports more expensive last month.

“Prices for import fuel increased 4.3 percent in November following a 0.9-percent decline in October and a 4.7-percent drop in September,” the BLS reported. “Higher prices for both natural gas and petroleum contributed to the November advance.”

Meanwhile, export prices gained 0.6% after rising by 0.2% and 0.6% the previous two months.

Pilbara Ports Authority reports November shipping data

Australia’s Pilbara Ports Authority reported November throughput of 57.4 million tonnes, down 3% year over year.

Furthermore, throughput at the Port of Port Hedland fell 4% year over year to 41.9 million tonnes.

Return of Rusal sanctions?

Aluminum prices are surging even more on speculation that the U.S. could opt to return to sanctions on Russian aluminum giant Rusal, Bloomberg reported.

The U.S. removed Rusal from the sanctions list in January 2019.

As for the price, the LME three-month aluminum closed Wednesday at $2,045 per metric ton, up 5.09% month over month. Meanwhile, in 2018, the LME aluminum price skyrocketed amid fears of a supply squeeze on the heels of the Rusal sanctions, reaching nearly $2,300 per metric ton in May 2018.

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