WHAT IS THE US ALUMINUM TRANSACTION PRICE?
Platts MW US Aluminum Transaction price assessment by S&P Global Commodity Insights has been a benchmark for 30 years in the North American aluminum market. The assessment reflects the spot physical value of 99.7% P1020 high-grade aluminum, in ingots, sows or T-bars, delivered, duty-paid plants in the US Midwest.
The price assessment is available in the longtime flagship Platts Metals Week, as well as in Platts Metals Daily and Platts Metals Alert services.
Metals Week began assessing US spot physical aluminum prices in 1972, when the Metals Week (MW) US Aluminum Market price assessment was adopted as the alternative to producer list pricing. The MW US Aluminum Market price was an all-inclusive, delivered price for primary aluminum determined through a survey of producers, traders and P1020 aluminum users such as rolling mills and extruders.
In 1984, when the London Metal Exchange added warehouses in the US, Metals Week launched the MW US Aluminum Transaction price assessment, which reflected a premium or discount to the LME cash settlement price. Since that time, the US Aluminum Transaction price assessment has been a benchmark used to price not only P1020 ingot, sow or T-bar, but also other products in the aluminum value chain such as billet, sheet, foil, extrusions, cable, cans and automotive parts.
The Transaction premium or discount is normalized to a US Midwest basis, but the assessment process encompasses trade data from all of North America. The Transaction price usage has extended beyond North America to other regions.
The premium or discount portion of the Transaction price reflects not only out-loading and delivery costs to consuming plants, but also the state of supply and demand in North America. Factors such as interest rates and the ability to finance aluminum on exchange futures price curves have also historically played a role in the level of the premium. As the US has become a net importer of P1020 aluminum for downstream consumption, the price level needed to attract imports has also set a floor.