* Producer’s Q2 offer represents 31 pct increase from Q1
* The offer, if accepted, will mark the highest in 3 years
* Higher offer reflects soaring U.S. premiums (Adds details)
TOKYO, Feb 23 (Reuters) - A global aluminium producer has offered Japanese buyers a premium of $135 per tonne for primary metal shipments during the April to June quarter, up 31 percent from the current quarter, three sources directly involved in the pricing talks said on Friday.
Japan is Asia’s biggest aluminium importer and the premiums for primary metal shipments it agrees to pay each quarter over the London Metal Exchange (LME) cash price set the benchmark for the region.
The offer, if accepted, would be the highest premium in three years and the second quarterly increase in a row.
The higher offer follows rising U.S. spot premiums that have climbed to their highs in nearly three years due to logistic disruptions amid a shortage of truck drivers and heavy snowfall, as well as potential trade curbs by the U.S. government on aluminium imports from China and other countries, the sources said.
For the January to March quarter, Japanese buyers agreed to pay a premium of $103 per tonne PREM-ALUM-JP, up 8 percent to 10 percent from the prior quarter as spot premiums rose.
The latest quarterly pricing negotiations began earlier this month between Japanese buyers and smelters, including Rusal , Rio Tinto Ltd , Alcoa Corp, and South32 Ltd, and are expected to continue through next month.
Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Nick Macfie and Christian Schmollinger