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Analysis: US aluminum swaps rise on low volume

CME Group's AUP Midwest aluminum premium forward curve moved slightly higher Monday on low volume, following market uncertainty from the effect of the Canadian exemption from Section 232 tariffs.

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"Hard to plan, who knows what a soft quota means, it will be harder for customers and add to the uncertainty," one producer said.

The swap futures contract trades on CME Globex and CME Clearport and settles on a monthly basis based on the Platts US Aluminum Transaction premium.

On a quiet week due to an aluminum conference in Chicago, only 15 lots total traded for June on the week, with 10 lots trading at 19 cents/lb as the spot US premium dropped to 18.75 cents/lb on June 3.

"Some talks that US tariffs will get hiked to 25% because of US smelters still uncompetitive," one trader said.

July settled at 18.80 cents/lb, with 10 lots trading at 18.75 cents/lb.

November traded 18 cents/lb, 40 lots and July 2019 through April 2020 strip traded 18.20 cents/lb, 50 lots total, moving the market structure of the curve higher for the fourth quarter and first quarter 2020.

"Lower fat price should be supportive for the premium due to increased risk of a rise in tariffs," a consumer said.

S&P Global Platts analysis of Panjiva import data for the last week of May to US ports showed 708 mt of high purity P0202 sows imported from the UAE to New York/New Jersey port areas.

Imports of P0404 and P0405 ingot from New Zealand to Seattle.

For the first week of June, just over 2,000 mt of Australian T-bars were imported in the port of New Orleans.

In addition, 911 mt of P0404 and 388 mt P0406 sows hit Seattle and Baltimore.

Panjiva like Platts, is a unit of S&P Global.

-- Nick Ruggiero, nicholas.ruggiero@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Richard Rubin, newsdesk@spglobal.com