June 3, 2019 / 10:08 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Producers seek Q3 aluminium premium of $115-$120/T from Japan buyers

(Adds comments from participants in quarterly talks)

By Yuka Obayashi

TOKYO, June 3 (Reuters) - Top aluminium producers have offered Japanese buyers premiums of $115-$120 a tonne for July-September primary metal shipments, up 10%-14% from the current quarter, amid tighter supply, three sources involved in quarterly pricing talks said on Monday.

Japan is Asia’s biggest importer of the metal. The premiums it agrees to pay each quarter for primary metal shipments over the London Metal Exchange (LME) cash price set the benchmark for the region.

For the April-June quarter, Japanese buyers agreed to a premium of $105 per tonne PREM-ALUM-JP, up as much as 27% from the prior quarter, marking the first increase in three quarters.

“We have received one offer at $120 a tonne and another at $115 last week,” a source at one end-user said.

The higher offers reflect fewer shipments of semi-fabricated metal, or semis, which can be melted down for use as primary metal, from China to other Asian countries due to stronger aluminium prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) , the source said.

Still, Japanese buyers are seeking lower premiums due to lacklustre demand from domestic manufacturers, some of whom have customers in the semiconductor and machine tool sectors in China, where demand is slowing, a source at a producer said.

The sources declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the talks.

The latest quarterly pricing negotiations began late last month between Japanese buyers and global smelters, including Rio Tinto Ltd and South32 Ltd, and are expected to continue until later this month. (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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