MetalMiner’s monthly aluminum price index, the Aluminum MMI®, fell to 87 in March, a decrease of 2.2% from 89 in February. Aluminum price drops nearly across the board accounted for the latest hit – namely the LME aluminum 3-month price, which fell to its lowest point since April 2014.
However, even this aluminum fall is minimal compared to the losses of our other metals.
LME Aluminum Warehouse Rules, Premiums
The London Metal Exchange (LME) keeps moving forward with reform of its warehouse rules. As my colleague Stuart recently explained in a post, a definition of what load-out means has been accepted. Now metal cannot be merry-go-rounded within the same facility and by the same owner.
On aluminum delivery premiums, Stuart asks, “could we be seeing the end of the elevated physical delivery premium?” He goes on to answer his question:
Not in the short term; the Western world is too tight for the premium to revert to pre-crisis levels, but we could be seeing the beginning of the end. Given increased supply from China and outflows from the currently moribund stock and finance trade, supply to Western consumers could increase over time – ironically just as products become more widely available to manage the risk.
The long-awaited aluminum premium contract will be launched on October 26. We will have to wait to see how this impacts delivery premiums.
On the production side, non-Chinese aluminum production was unchanged in January, according to the latest figures from the International Aluminum Institute (IAI). Producers are still holding aluminum capacity in terms of keeping smelters offline in the face of low prices and historical stock overhang.
The IAI was also in the news early last month because it stopped production of its monthly producer inventory figures, saying its own members are either not submitting the data at all or struggling to do so on a timely basis.