TOKYO (Reuters) - Some Japanese aluminum buyers have agreed to pay some global producers a premium of $103 per tonne for shipments in January to March, reflecting higher spot premiums, two sources directly involved in the pricing talks said on Thursday.
The new figure is higher than the $94-$95 per tonne premium in the current quarter, and the increase is the first in three quarters.
Japan is Asia’s biggest importer of aluminum and the premiums for primary metal shipments it agrees to pay each quarter over the London Metal Exchange cash price set the benchmark for the region.
One of the major buyers reached the deal with two producers while another buyer struck an agreement with a single seller, according to the sources.
“We’ve done the deal at $103 a tonne with one of the sellers as we believed the figure represented the current market situation,” said one of the sources who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.
They are still negotiating with other global suppliers while many other Japanese buyers are in talks with all of the producers, with further deals expected later this month.
The latest quarterly pricing negotiations began late last month between Japanese buyers and global producers, including Alcoa Corp , Rio Tinto , South32 Ltd and Rusal , with initial offers ranging between $110 and $118 a tonne.
But buyers have sought lower prices at around $96-$105 a tonne, forcing some producers to compromise, the sources said.
Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Tom Hogue and Manolo Serapio Jr.