Aluminum Caps First Weekly Gain in May as Stockpiles Recede

  • Shanghai inventories of the metal drop to the lowest in a year
  • Aluminum stocks in LME warehouses now at lowest since 2009

Aluminum posted its first weekly advance this month as the lowest Chinese stockpiles in a year signal a tightening market for the metal used in beer cans and window frames.

Aluminum rose as much as 2.1 percent, the largest intraday surge since April 20, as stockpiles of the metal on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 7.6 percent this week to the lowest since April 2015 and London Metal Exchange warehouse inventories dropped to 2.56 million metric tons, the lowest since January 2009.

“The Chinese market is still relatively tight from a physical angle,” Colin Hamilton, the head of global commodities research at Macquarie Group Ltd. in London, said by telephone. “Stockpiles there are below where they’ve been against the five-year average, and that’s getting people more excited.”

Aluminum for delivery in three months gained 0.1 percent to settle at $1,547 a ton at 5:50 p.m. in London.

China, the maker of about half the world’s aluminum, will export less in 2016 as output expands at the slowest pace in five years, United Co. Rusal, the world’s second-biggest aluminum producer, said this month.

In other markets:

  • Copper was little changed at $4,578 a ton ($2.08 a pound) on the LME. Stockpiles at the Shanghai Futures Exchange slumped by the most since July.
  • Zinc also gained in London, while nickel, lead and tin dropped.
  • Copper futures for July delivery dropped 0.3 percent to $2.0555 a pound on the Comex in New York.
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