US aluminum export prices were flat over the week as India struggled to gain traction with its restart from the COVID-19 shutdown. With India out of the market, offers have been flooding the Southeast Asian markets and are more than the demand in those regions.
The weekly Davis Index for 95/2 Zorba ticked down from 40.8¢/lb fas US ports to 40¢/lb and increased by 0.03¢/lb for 99/3 Zorba to 44.6¢/lb fas US port on Thursday.
The index for taint/tabor increased by 2¢/lb to 42.2¢/lb fas US ports and declined by 0.01¢/lb for tense at 41¢/lb fas US port.
Aluminum-copper radiators moved up 1.3¢/lb, to $1.113/lb on the strength of the copper market, which remains volatile. The Comex jumped by more than 10¢/lb from last week, breaking the $2.46/lb mark, but quickly lost the gains to close below $2.40/lb yesterday.
The official three-month LME aluminum contract increased by $9/mt to close Thursday at $1,524/mt from $1,515/mt on May 21.
Financially, the metals industry is facing a difficult time, with the export business becoming riskier than the domestic market. Exporters must consider the added time taken for materials to reach its destination, which allows room for negative events such as port closures or extended shutdowns to happen, preventing the turnover of material and tying up precious cash flows, making the exports market more vulnerable to downturns.
Moreover, markets could remain volatile in the near- to medium-term, making long-term decision making difficult. As the fog clears on the pandemic, market participants are searching for the new normal to structure their business amid a constantly changing environment.