The Aluminium Wire Prices in the US market rose in the first quarter of 2023 due to increased premium costs amid financial market turmoil. Market players noted that this trend began after a series of smelter curtailments last year and was further fueled by sustained supply issues and rising demand expectations surrounding China's return to the market. Market participants claimed that US premiums were rising to attract more metal, and Western market premiums for aluminium ingots also increased due to speculation of rising Chinese demand. However, the collapse of two US banks and market uncertainty contributed to the first drop in the US Midwest aluminium premium since mid-February. Despite this, market players remained unconcerned about oversupply, as downstream demand was in its peak season, and stockpiles of Aluminium Wire had significantly decreased, despite increased domestic supply and imported inflows.
In Q1 2023, Aluminium Wire prices in China were sluggish due to high inventory levels and low buyer sentiment. Raw material aluminium ingots fell four consecutive times in January before rebounding. The social inventory of aluminium had exceeded expectations, suppressing prices. Downstream demand had been delayed, leading to stable supply and high inventory levels. In early February, prices had been rangebound with no new lows or highs. Aluminium Wire prices had been stable, with improving downstream demand. Inventories had plateaued, and traders had awaited the start of the destocking process. The Federal Reserve's hawkish statements had pressured nonferrous metals prices. Operating rates and sales had increased month over month as peak season approached. Aluminium Wire inventories had increased as the tight supply of aluminium scrap had eased in March. Traders had picked up goods aggressively while delivering cautiously. According to manufacturers, several domestic smelters had resumed production, causing Aluminium Wire prices to edge downward in the Chinese market.
In Q1 2023, European Aluminium Wire prices experienced a notable increase due to mounting premium costs over raw material Aluminium Sheet prices amid a lack of demand in the electrical power transmission sector. Raw material Aluminium premiums had surged by roughly 16% since the beginning of the year. Despite ample inventories of Aluminium Wire in the spot market, premiums remained high due to elevated production charges. Freight prices had declined, and the European market had faced no significant competition from the Asian market. However, the spot market experienced weak demand for Aluminium Wire in Q1, even from reliable end-users. Energy prices had decreased and hovered at a moderate level. Despite this, there had been further cutbacks in the domestic market, indicating a shift of primary production to Asia. Aluminium stock levels in exchange warehouses had surged due to companies like Glencore delivering Russian metal that could not be sold to end-users. Despite low demand, European Aluminium Wire prices had remained higher than other regions, attracting tonnages from overseas market players despite eased overseas Aluminium Wire prices and a closed arbitrage window in China.
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