US lifts sanctions on Rusal

US lifts sanctions on Rusal

Move sends LME aluminum pricing downward.

January 28, 2019

Reuters reports that the Trump administration lifted sanctions on Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska’s core empire, including aluminum company Rusal and its parent En+, Sunday, Jan. 27. The move was made despite a Democrat-led push to maintain them, according to the news service.

As a result, the London Metal Exchange released a notice confirming that its Special Committee has lifted the temporary conditional suspension on Rusal aluminum, meaning warranting can be resumed in respect to all Rusal metal and removing the conditions imposed by Notices 18/107 and 18/117 so members can freely enter into contracts with Rusal and its affiliates.

Effective Jan. 28, the date of the notice, the LME says the temporary conditional suspension on placing Rusal metal on warrant is lifted, adding, “this means that all Rusal metal can be placed on warrant, including metal produced: (a) prior to 6 April 2018; (b) between 6 April 2018 and the date of this Notice; and (c) after the date of this notice.”

Also as of Jan. 28, the LME notice states, “members are free to enter into contracts with Rusal or any subsidiary or affiliate of Rusal that is not a subject of sanctions, and there is no requirement to make payment into a blocked account or to provide any form of undertaking to the LME.”

According to the Reuters article, lifting the sanctions sent the Russian stock index to an all-time high, while Hong-Kong listed shares in Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer outside of China, rose 9 percent Jan. 28, reaching their highest price since April.

However, LME aluminum prices declined by as much as 1.4 percent after the open, Reuters reports, noting, “The sanctions had sent London aluminum to a seven-year high when they were announced in April last year amid fears of a supply squeeze.”

Following the announcement that the sanctions had been removed, Rusal said its Chairman Jean-Pierre Thomas had resigned as part of the deal to lift the U.S. sanctions, Reuters reports.

En+ Group, Rusal’s parent company, also announced the resignation of several of its board members and the appointment of new directors, which Reuters says was “a move intended to satisfy U.S. Treasury demands that the boards of both Rusal and En+ Group be made up of independent directors.”