aluminum price

Continued from Part One.

And yet with the cost of aluminum production notoriously high in China, even in the lower-cost western provinces, many analysts have been looking for production cutbacks in China as being the catalyst for a move to supply balance and higher prices.

Arguably China is a market unto itself. Tariffs or lack of export incentives make imports and exports of primary aluminum negligible in comparison to installed capacity, yet it is the hope that mass closures in China will force the country to import primary metal that has long been a plank of the expectation that prices would move higher over time.

Cote observes Chinese demand will likely be in the region of 9 percent per year as GDP grows at around 8 percent, and rightly points out this is off a much higher base than five to 10 years ago, making even 9 percent growth equivalent to adding some 2 million tons of additional demand a year.

Whether plant closures in the rest of the world outside of China, coupled with a continuation of the long-term financing trade that has held nearly 9-10 million tons of aluminum in isolation from the physical market, will together be enough to engineer higher prices remains a topic of much debate.

What can be said is that however much macroeconomic factors and swings in risk appetite move short-term prices, in the long run, supply/demand and cost of production tend to win out, and at current prices many producers, in the West and even in China, must be pondering the long-term viability of their higher cost assets.

Dropping two percent, Indian aluminum cash price was the biggest mover on June 18, 2012 on our daily aluminum price index.

On the LME, the aluminum 3-month price fell 0.7 percent to $1,951 per metric ton. The primary aluminum cash price weakened by 0.5 percent on the LME, settling at $1,914 per metric ton.

Chinese aluminum prices closed flat for the day.

The cash price of Chinese aluminum remained essentially flat in the mid-$2,500s per metric ton. The price of Chinese aluminum scrap held steady below $2,600 per metric ton.

At under $2,500 per metric ton, the price of Chinese aluminum billet was essentially unchanged, and for the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese aluminum bar remained essentially flat above $2,200 per metric ton.

The cash price of Indian primary aluminum saw the biggest shift of the day, dropping 0.6 percent on June 15, 2012. After falling for two days, the 3-month price of aluminum rose 0.2 percent on the LME to $1,964 per metric ton. After a couple of days of decreasing prices on the LME, the cash price of primary aluminum held steady at $1,924.

Chinese aluminum closed mixed last Friday. The cash price of Chinese aluminum is back up, rising by 0.1 percent, while the price of Chinese aluminum scrap was unchanged at above $2,600 per metric ton. Chinese aluminum billet stayed flat above $2,500 per metric ton, and the price of Chinese aluminum bar continues hovering above $2,200 per metric ton for the fifth day in a row.

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Daily Aluminum Price Roundup

The aluminum 3-month price dropped 0.2 percent on the LME to close at $1,961 per metric ton on June 14, 2012. The LME aluminum cash price weakened by 0.1 percent, settling at $1,923 per metric ton. The cash price of primary Indian aluminum saw little movement on Thursday, closing out below $2 per kilogram.

Chinese aluminum cash prices fell 0.2 percent while the price of Chinese aluminum scrap saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining below $2,600 per metric ton. The price of Chinese aluminum billet held steady at above $2,500 per metric ton. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese aluminum bar remained essentially flat above $2,200 per metric ton.

Weekly Aluminum MMI®: China, India, LME Prices Down

The week’s biggest mover on the weekly Aluminum MMI® was the aluminum 3-month price, which saw a 0.9 percent decline on the LME to $1,961 per metric ton. This week marked the third in a row of declining prices for the metal. The cash price of primary aluminum fell 0.6 percent on the LME over the past week to $1,923 per metric ton. This was the third week in a row of declining prices. Indian aluminum cash price drifted 0.6 percent since last week.

Chinese aluminum prices were mixed for the week. Chinese aluminum billet prices were off $1 per metric ton week over week. Closing out the third week of declining prices, the cash price of Chinese aluminum dropped by 0.1 percent. Chinese aluminum bar traded sideways last week, hovering above $2,200 per metric ton.

The week finished with no movement for Korean 3003 coil premium over 1050 sheet and Korean 5052 coil premium over 1050 sheet. European 5083 plate remained unchanged for the week, and prices for European 1050 aluminum remained constant, closing the week below $2,900 per metric ton.

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.

Dropping 0.9 percent on the LME, the cash price of primary aluminum was the biggest mover on June 13, 2012, closing at $1,925 per metric ton. Also on the LME, the 3-month price of aluminum declined 0.8 percent to $1,965 per metric ton.

The cash price of primary Indian aluminum changed direction with a 0.5 percent drop.

Meanwhile, Chinese aluminum prices were mixed for the day.

The cash price of Chinese aluminum closed in the mid-$2,000s per metric ton; following a couple days of improvement, prices fell by 0.9 percent.

The price of Chinese aluminum scrap, aluminum billet and aluminum bar saw little movement.

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The week’s biggest mover on the Construction MMI® was the price of US shredded scrap, which saw a 9.5 percent decline. This week marked the third in a row of declining prices for the metal.

The price of Chinese rebar fell 0.2 percent after rising 0.2 percent the week before. The Chinese low price of 62% Australian iron ore fines remained essentially flat. Closing at above $600 per metric ton, Chinese H-beam steel remained unchanged for the week.

Chinese aluminum bar prices held steady from the previous week at above $2,200 per metric ton. Prices for European 1050 aluminum remained constant, closing the week at below $2,900 per metric ton.

The weekly US Midwest bar fuel surcharge had a flat week, as did the weekly US US Gulf Coast and Rocky Mountain bar fuel surcharges.

The Construction MMI® collects and weights 9 metal price points used within the construction industry to provide a unique view into construction industry price trends. For more information on the Construction MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.

The Chinese aluminum cash price saw a 0.7 percent increase on June 12, 2012, making it the biggest mover for the day on global aluminum markets. The price of Chinese aluminum billet closed Tuesday by halting its two-day flat run with a 0.3 percent decline.

For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese aluminum bar held flat at above $2,200 per metric ton. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese aluminum scrap remained essentially flat.

The cash price of primary Indian aluminum finished the day with a 0.6 percent increase. Aluminum prices on the LME saw some paltry gains on June 12: the aluminum 3-month price rose 0.4 percent to $1,981 per metric ton, while the primary aluminum cash price inched up 0.3 percent to finish at $1,943 per metric ton.

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Presentations at the Harbor Aluminum Outlook conference tend to lean towards technical forecasts for aluminum price, inventory levels, and production costs for aluminum. However, equally important are glances at the bigger macroeconomic picture.

And this year, the European debt crisis takes center stage, just over China’s growth declines, and Ed Meir of INTL FCStone, a fixture in the metals analysis world, homed in on Greece, Italy and Spain, and what the US dollar can tell us about where aluminum prices — indeed, all commodity prices — are headed.

Read more

A handful of poll questions were asked to the attendees at the Harbor Aluminum Outlook conference today, some of which bear sharing, especially since they take 2012 aluminum prices into consideration — and what industrial buyers, sellers, analysts and others are expecting for 2013.

Do you think speculative flows play a role in the determination of long term prices?

  • Yes, a bit — 42%
  • Yes, significantly — 47%
  • Not really — 11%

Speculation is playing as big a role as ever — see our earlier post.

Do you think aluminum prices are:

  • Overvalued? — 10%
  • Undervalued? — 68%
  • Fairly valued — 22%

I believe the bulk of demand/business growth in 2013 will come from:

  • North America — 62%
  • China — 23%
  • EU, Latin America and India distant third, fourth, fifth places

 Make sure to follow live happenings on twitter at #harborconference

The aluminum 3-month price saw a 0.7 percent drop on the LME on June 11, 2012, landing at $1,973 per metric ton and making it the biggest mover of the day on global aluminum markets. On the LME, the primary aluminum cash price fell 0.4 percent to $1,938 per metric ton. Following a two-day drop, Indian aluminum cash price increased by 0.2 percent.

Chinese aluminum closed mixed on Monday. The Chinese aluminum cash price finished the market day up 0.2 percent per metric ton. The price of Chinese aluminum scrap held steady at below $2,600 per metric ton. The price of Chinese aluminum billet was essentially unchanged, while the price of Chinese aluminum bar remained essentially flat at above $2,200 per metric ton.

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