There has been speculation for months that the US Midwest cathode premium would rise due to increasing freight and financing costs.
American Metal Market’s assessment of the US Midwest copper cathode premium was steady 5.5-6 cents per lb on Tuesday May 1, flat since late January.
"We are starting to see premiums move up a bit," one trader source said. "There's a general feeling that premiums are going to increase."
A big question this year will be whether the industry repeats last year's weak first-half performance after a flood of scrap metal and poor construction figures eliminated any chance of an increase in the premium.
While domestic scrap supply has not yet surged, China's decision to implement a 30-day import suspension on non-ferrous scrap deliveries from the US could again result in export yards being fully stocked and depressed prices.
But consumers are taking their contracted tonnage as scheduled and...