Friday, 17 August, 2018

Japanese companies ask Rusal to stop shipping aluminum after U.S. sanctions

Rio declares force majeure in wake of US sanctions against Russia Aluminium jump after Rusal sanctions
Ray Hunter | 19 April, 2018, 06:27

Aluminum prices jump more than 4% to a fresh seven-year high above $2,500/metric ton and nickel prices soar 11% in its biggest one-day jump since 2009 on fears that USA sanctions against Russian Federation will widen.

TransContainer, Russia's largest freight container operator which said it handles between 25 and 30 percent of Rusal's exports, said Rusal had suspended exports through the TransContainer network.

"With all the uncertainty around Rusal, there's no way but for the price to head higher still to incentivise more production from elsewhere", Bhar said.

The US sanctions have cut Rusal off from global markets and left buyers of its alumina unable to continue with their contracts.

"If Rusal supply does (largely) go out of the market, ie, if they can't continue to sell via a third party, that will lead to a meaningful deficit, and that is certainly still positive for prices".

Japan buys about 300,000 tons of refined aluminum from Russian Federation, about 16 percent of the nation's total import, according to the Japan Aluminum Association.

Apart from saying it would declare force majeure on certain customer contracts, Rio Tinto lso said on Friday it was reviewing Rusal's 20 percent stake in the Queensland Alumina refinery, Rusal's supply and offtake arrangements, bauxite sales to Rusal's refinery in Ireland and offtake contracts for alumina. First-quarter production expanded 0.3 percent to 8.12 million tons.

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Guy Wolf, the global head of market analytics at Marex Spectron said Donald Trump's recent tariffs on aluminium were bearish for the price of the metal, but recent U.S. sanctions on Russian Federation, and Rusal in particular, were a "game-changer".

Traders said the price jump is a sign of panic in the market, as aluminium smelters look for alternative supply of the key material.

Rusal and its major shareholder Oleg Deripaska were included on a USA sanctions blacklist this month, leading to anxiety among many of its customers, suppliers and creditors who fear they too could be hit by sanctions through association with the company.

ALUMINIUM SHEET: The U.S. Commerce Department said it has made a preliminary determination that aluminium sheet imports from China are being subsidized.

Benchmark aluminium on the London Metal Exchange (LME) climbed to a high of $2,435 a tonne, a more than two per cent rise and its highest price since September 2011.

Its near 12 per cent gain for the week was still the biggest since the contract was launched in its current form in 1987, according to Reuters data.

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