TOKYO (Reuters) - Two global aluminum producers have offered Japanese buyers a premium of $159-160 per ton for primary metal shipments for the July-September quarter, up 23-24 percent from the current quarter, four sources directly involved in pricing talks said.

Japan is Asia’s biggest aluminum importer 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.

The premium, if accepted, would be the highest in over three years and the third straight quarterly rise, reflecting premiums in the United States that have surged amid the country’s tariffs on aluminum imports and sanctions on Rusal - the world’s No.2 producer of the metal.

“We have received an offer at $159 per ton from one producer and at $160 from another supplier late on Monday,” a source at a trading house said on Tuesday.

“The producers claimed firmer U.S. spot premiums and tighter supplies due to U.S. sanction on Rusal as the reasons for their stronger offers, but we are not feeling physical tightness in Asia at least for now,” another source at a fabricator said.

For the quarter ending June, Japanese buyers agreed to pay a premium of $129, up 25 percent from the prior quarter to reflect the spike in U.S. spot premiums.

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