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China ex-works spot alumina drops Yuan 50/mt to Yuan 3,350/mt

Singapore — Platts ex-works Shanxi daily spot alumina assessment fell further Thursday, dropping Yuan 50/mt ($7.60) on the day to Yuan 3,350/mt in cash. The price is also down Yuan 100/mt from a week ago, and down Yuan 450/mt on the month.

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Spot trade remained thin as sentiment stayed weak, with domestic aluminum prices still low, while buyers shied away in wait for lower levels closer to Yuan 3,000/mt, sources said.

Five refiners and smelter sources put current tradeable spot levels at Yuan 3,300-3,400/mt cash ex-works Shanxi and Henan Thursday, but agreed there was no firm price indication as no trades have been reported.

One Chinese refiner said he heard 5,000 mt of spot has been sold by a trader at Yuan 3,100/mt ex-Guangxi basis, adding pressure to overall alumina prices as a result.

Two other Chinese refiners said they had not heard about the Guangxi trade, but said they were "not surprised" as prices were still on a downtrend.

"Prices are all over the place, depending on positions," a Henan-based smelter source said. "The market is still unstable; we're not buying spot now, we want to see how the ingot price moves first."

The general expectation is that prices will test lower until mid-December, where more spot demand could be seen as smelter reserves are depleted, sources said.

The front-month primary aluminum contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed Thursday at Yuan 14,605/mt, down from Yuan 14,910/mt last week and Yuan 16,195/mt a month ago.

---Yuencheng Mok,

--Edited by Jonathan Fox,