The future direction of aluminium premiums is very uncertain, according to a recent poll by Metal Bulletin that revealed the market is split on the light metal’s next move.

When asked “where next for aluminium premiums?”, 19.27% of respondents said premiums will go higher, 23.32% said lower, and the remaining 29.41% said premiums would stay at current levels.

The bulls pointed to the continuing pervasion of warehouse financing deals keeping the market tight, while bears noted the backwardations in the forward aluminium spreads on the London Metal Exchange making sellers out of stock-holding traders.

Metal Bulletin’s duty-paid premiums fell for the first time since December 2011 on February 6, and slipped further on February 27 and again on Wednesday March 6, settling at $280-295 per tonne from $290-305 at the start of February. The daily duty unpaid figure was $208.50 per tonne on Thursday March 7, from about $220 at the start of February.