Premiums on Japan aluminium imports drop 14% for Jan-March - sources

TOKYO, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Premiums for aluminium shipments to Japan for the first quarter of 2020 were set at $83 per tonne, down 14% from the previous quarter amid soft demand from electronics and auto companies, two sources directly involved in the pricing talks said.

The sources declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the talks.

The figure is lower than the $97 per tonne paid in the October-December quarter and is the second consecutive quarterly drop. It is also lower than the initial offers of $92 made by producers.

Japan is Asia's biggest importer of the light metal and the premiums PREM-ALUM-JP for primary metal shipments it agrees to pay each quarter over the benchmark London Metal Exchange (LME) cash price set the benchmark for the region.

Industrial output in Japan, the world’s third-biggest economy, shrank for a second month in November, underscoring the broadening economic impact of the months-long Sino-U.S. trade dispute and keeping policymakers under pressure to step up stimulus.

The United States and China are set to sign a “Phase 1” trade deal next month, which is expected to be the beginning of an end to the conflict.

The latest quarterly pricing negotiations began last month between Japanese buyers and global producers, including Rio Tinto, and South32 Ltd. (Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Rashmi Aich)