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Aluminum price nears six-week high on signs of seasonally robust demand

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Aluminum prices surged on Tuesday, reaching nearly six-week highs due to signs of seasonally robust demand.

On the London Metal Exchange (LME), three-month aluminum touched $2,270 per metric ton, marking its highest level since February 1st.

According to Tom Price, head of commodities strategy at Liberum, there are concerns about demand stemming from increasing inventory levels in China. However, he suggests that this may be attributed to a seasonal trend in anticipation of heightened consumption in the second quarter of this year.

Inventory data reveals that aluminum stocks have surged by 85% this year to 184,358 metric tons in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange. Meanwhile, stocks in LME’s registered warehouses have seen a 2% increase since the start of 2024, climbing to 577,675 tons.

China’s record aluminum production in 2023 has tempered the upside potential for prices of the metal, primarily used in auto parts and power cables manufacturing.

The ongoing property crisis in China has cast a shadow on the demand for industrial metals. Moody’s recent downgrade of China’s second-largest property developer, Vanke, to a “junk” rating further underscores the severity of the situation.

Tom Price suggests that demand for base metals linked to China’s distressed property sector is more likely to gradually decline over the next two to three years, rather than experiencing a sudden collapse.

(With files from Reuters)

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