Prices for aluminium and alumina are turning around this week, according to various reports.
On Monday, spot prices for Japanese aluminum import premiums rose to US$110 to US$115 per metric ton plus London Metal Exchange cash, CIF Japan, as a result of several Japanese traders seeking deliveries after the financial year closes in March. The spot premiums were up from US$105 to US$110 metric ton plus LME cash CIF Japan at closing on Friday.
Prices of spot aluminium may continue at that point, as buyers and producers are meeting in the middle, according to one producer. “There are Japanese buyers eyeing US$105/mt plus LME cash CIF Japan, but there are no sellers. On the other hand, there are some sellers being very bullish, aiming for US$120-US$130 per metric ton plus LME cash CIF Japan. I don’t think numbers above US$115 per metric ton are tradeable,” explained an unnamed producer.
Almost three quarters of Chinese smelters surveyed recently believe that prices of the metal will stabilize this week, according to a survey conducted by the Shanghai Metals Market (SMM). Roughly 71% of the thirty-two smelters surveyed saw SHFE 1603 aluminum to consolidate between CN¥10,600 and CN¥10,800 per metric ton and LME aluminum to range US$1,470 and US$1,490 per metric ton. Another 16% are bullish that LME aluminum will top US$1,490 per metric ton, and SHFE 1603 aluminum is headed above CN¥10,800 per metric ton, due to cuts in production and falling aluminum stocks in China’s major trading markets.
Prices for alumina in Australia are up slightly, as Metal Bulletin’s fob Australia alumina index settled at US$199.52 per metric ton on Friday. That puts the price up from US$198.06 per metric ton the previous week. One producer told Metal Bulletin, “Prices are mainly steady, but there has been a certain amount of recovery,” he said.
The rebound in alumina prices is credited to refinery cuts and disruptions in the supply chain in recent weeks.