(Adds buyer comment, details)
TOKYO Aug 21 United Company Rusal Plc
, the world's biggest aluminium producer, has kicked
off talks with Japanese buyers at a record high premium of $460
per tonne for October-December shipments of the metal, according
to three sources.
Japan is Asia's biggest importer of aluminium, and the
premiums that it agrees to pay each quarter over the London
Metal Exchange cash price set the benchmark for the
Rusal sent an email to Japanese buyers on Tuesday with an
early indication of the premium of $460 per tonne, up 13-15
percent from the previous quarter, citing strong demand and
higher overseas premiums, the sources involved in quarterly
pricing negotiations said on Thursday.
The proposal is not considered to be the company's formal
offer and it may change after initial discussions with its
customers and depending on rivals' bids, the sources said.
Rusal declined to comment.
For the July-September quarter, Japanese buyers mostly
agreed to pay a record premium of $400-408 per tonne
PREM-ALUM-JP, up 8-12 percent from the prior quarter.
The latest quarterly pricing negotiations between Japanese
buyers and other miners such as Rio Tinto Ltd ,
Alcoa Inc, and BHP Billiton are expected
to begin next week and continue into next month.
The Rusal indication came far above Japanese buyers'
Sumitomo Corp, a Japanese trading house, forecasts
a premium of $415 per tonne for Oct-Dec aluminium shipment.
"The premiums will likely rise as the U.S. spot premiums,
which have been leading global premiums in recent years, are
higher," Shingi Yamagiwa, team manager of light metals trading
at Sumitomo, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.
When asked to comment on the Rusal's suggested level,
Yamagiwa said: "That sounds out of place."
(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Michael Urquhart)