COLUMN-Beer versus aluminium; the U.S. battle-lines are drawn again – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – July 9, 2018)

LONDON, July 9 (Reuters) – The price of aluminium paid by consumers in the United States has risen sharply this year. This is not entirely surprising, given the imposition from the start of March of a 10-percent tariff on just about all imports of the metal.

But has the price risen too much? The Beer Institute, which represents the country’s more than 5,000 brewers, thinks so.

It has asked the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to “address potentially anticompetitive activities in the aluminum market that are driving up aluminum prices”. Thirty-two U.S. lawmakers think so as well.

That’s how many members of Congress signed a June 18 letter to the U.S. Attorney General, urging an investigation into “possible irregularities” that are impacting “the American consumer at the rate of hundreds of millions of dollars every year”.

The collective target is the spike in the U.S. Midwest aluminium premium, set by S&P Global Platts and traded in derivative index form on the CME.

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