* Rio, South 32 seek Q2 premiums of $135/T
* Rusal raises its offer to $135/T from $125/T
* Japanese buyers aim at around $120-125/T
(Adds details and quotes)
By Yuka Obayashi
TOKYO, March 8 Three global aluminium producers
have offered Japanese buyers a premium of $135 per tonne for
shipments in the April to June quarter, up 42 percent from the
previous quarter, three sources directly involved in the pricing
talks said on Wednesday.
The offer, if accepted, would mark the second quarterly
increase in a row. The higher offer comes as premiums rise in
the United States and Europe and Japanese inventories are
falling amid solid local demand.
Japan is Asia's biggest importer of the metal and the
premiums for primary metal shipments it agrees to pay each
quarter over the London Metal Exchange (LME) cash price
set the benchmark for the region.
The latest quarterly pricing negotiations began last month
between Japanese buyers and miners including South32 Ltd
, Rio Tinto Ltd and United Company
Rusal Plc, and are expected to continue through this
"We've received offers at $135 per tonne from South 32 and
Rio Tinto," said a source at an end-user in Japan.
"Rusal has raised its offer to $135 per tonne this week from
its previous offer of $125," he added.
In February, Rusal made an indicative offer of a premium of
$125 per tonne to Japanese buyers for April-June primary metal
shipments, according to sources.
South 32, Rio and Rusal were not immediately available for
"The producers claimed that the rise mainly reflected higher
premiums in the U.S. market, but we think $135 is too high as we
don't feel much supply tightness here," another source at an
end-user said, adding that his company would aim for premiums at
around $120-125 per tonne.
U.S. and European spot premiums have risen by about $20 to
$50 per tonne over the past few months, according to a source at
Aluminium stocks at three major Japanese ports fell slightly
from the previous month to 273,100 tonnes at the end of January,
but were down from 368,100 tonnes a year ago, according to
trading house Marubeni Corp.
For the January-March quarter, Japanese buyers mostly agreed
to pay a premium of $95 per tonne PREM-ALUM-JP, up 27 percent
from the prior quarter.
(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)