* Rio seeks premium of $95/T while Rusal offers $110/T
* Japanese buyers aim at low $80/T
* Negotiations to continue through December
(Recasts with other producers' offers and buyers' comments)
By Yuka Obayashi
TOKYO, Nov 25 Some big aluminium producers seek
a premium of $95-$110 per tonne from Japanese buyers for primary
metal shipments in the January to March period, up 27-47 percent
from the previous quarter, five sources involved in pricing
talks said on Friday.
Japan is Asia's biggest importer of the metal and the
premiums for primary metal shipments it agrees to pay each
quarter over the London Metal Exchange (LME) cash price
set the benchmark for the region.
Any increase in the quarterly premiums would mark the first
rise in three quarters, and reflect tightening supply, although
buyers said the initial offers were too high, the sources said.
For the October-December quarter, Japanese aluminium buyers
agreed to pay a premium of $75 a tonne for the metal
PREM-ALUM-JP, down 17 percent to 19 percent from the prior
quarter, on softer spot premiums amid a supply glut.
Rio Tinto Ltd has offered Japanese buyers a premium
of $95 per tonne following a drop in local inventories and
higher demand for imported aluminium in China, while Rusal
has sought a premium of $110 per tonne to reflect
higher U.S. premiums, the sources said.
Aluminium stocks at three major Japanese ports fell 2.9
percent in October from the previous month to 278,200 tonnes,
trading house Marubeni Corp said on Monday.
Buyers are not ready to accept the offers, the sources said.
"The $110 proposal is way too high and the $95 offer is
still above the levels that we think are appropriate," said a
source at a trading house who declined to be named.
"We will need to accept a hike from the current quarter amid
tighter supply in Asia, but only if premiums come in the low $80
a tonne," a source at a fabricator said.
The quarterly pricing negotiations are held between Japanese
buyers and global miners including Rio, Alcoa Inc and
Rusal has not been involved in the quarterly pricing talks
over the past couple of years, but the Russian company sent an
email to its customers in Japan this week in an apparent bid to
have an influence in the negotiations, the sources said.
Some talks started this week and are expected to continue
until next month.
Rio and Rusal declined to comment.
(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Christian Schmollinger
and Susan Fenton)