SHANGHAI, Jan. 16 (SMM) – LME aluminum prices plunged to USD 2,033/mt during early European session, the lowest in one and a half months. The US economic data released later was mixed. Retail sales in the US rose 0.5% MoM in December and beat forecasts, helping LME aluminum recover earlier losses. However, the New York Fed manufacturing index tumbled in January and fell short of expectations, keeping LME aluminum prices in check. Longs and shorts watched from the sidelines after exiting the market out of their worries over the debt ceiling issue in the US. Total positions fell as much as 45,444 lots. Finally, LME aluminum finished at USD 2,056/mt, down USD 1.3/mt or 0.06%. Latest LME aluminum inventories increased 4,225 mt to 5,187,850 mt.
Market has been cautious as the US is at risk of being downgraded due to its debt ceiling issue. LME aluminum should stall at USD 2,050/mt and fluctuate in the band of USD 2,040-2,060/mt on Wednesday. The SHFE 1303 aluminum contract is expected to open at RMB 15,160/mt, with prices between RMB 15,130-15,230/mt. Spot discounts are expected to expand to RMB 50-90/mt after SHFE 1302 aluminum contracts become the current-month contract. Traders should actively move goods, but downstream producers will purchase only when needed.