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United States

The two major parties’ presidential candidates have been determined, with several minor candidates still in play. To the disappointment of many, the USA is going to have a replay of the 2020 presidential elections.

The topics most on people’s minds are the economy, immigration policies, accessible healthcare, and foreign policy surrounding Gaza and support for Ukraine. The economy shows no signs of slowing, which may delay Federal Reserve rate cuts until later this year. Inflation is still in check at a little over 3% and in line with expectations. The jobs picture is still very positive, with unemployment below 4%. And the US stock markets continue to hit historical heights, with no end in sight. 

Primary aluminium’s terminal markets remain range-bound, as they have been since the summer of 2023. The domestic aluminium scrap markets have taken a full turn in recent months, with some items being very tight and secondary scrap prices substantially higher. Aluminium mill scrap is up slightly, with high magnesium scrap being in good demand. UBC scrap has also tightened to prime as several mills are short or experiencing operational issues. The biggest movements have been in secondary aluminium. Ingot prices have improved slightly, with scrap pricing having risen further on dwindling supplies. There are very strong export prices for shredded scrap and aluminium turnings, forcing domestic consumers to follow suit or lose the units. As steel prices have dropped, it is likely flows into shredder yards have diminished, leading to tight supply. 

The USA has seen significant growth in greenfield aluminium mill announcements in the last couple of years. Most recently, the two largest have warned of significant cost overruns, although the expansions are still moving ahead. 

Copper demand has been stable and spreads have widened with the increases in terminal market pricing. There has been no major change in supply or demand recently. Export markets for copper remain consistent, with metal flowing to Asia and Europe.