Aluminum price jumps after report EU may sanction Russian metal

Aluminum factory in Russia. (Reference image by uc_rusal_photo_gallery, Wikimedia Commons.)

Aluminum rallied in London after Politico reported that the European Union is considering sanctions on Russian aluminum ahead of the second anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine.

Prices rose as much as 3.6% on the London Metal Exchange as the report raised fresh concerns about the flow of Russian metal into western markets, and US and European aluminum stocks jumped.

However, while some EU member states are pushing for aluminum sanctions as the bloc shapes plans for a 13th package, the idea remains controversial in several capitals, people familiar with the discussions told Bloomberg. Any sanctions would require unanimous support of the EU’s 27 members.

Russian metals had escaped broad sanctions until December, when the UK moved to block British individuals and entities from trading physical Russian metals, including aluminum, copper and nickel. At the time, the UK hinted at the possibility of coordinated action with international partners in a statement announcing the sanctions.

Politico reported on Tuesday that EU countries will soon start discussing measures that could lead to a full ban on Russian aluminum, citing EU diplomats.

The LME said after the UK measures that its members and clients had been granted a license allowing the continued trade of Russian metals on the exchange, and it expected that the sanctions wouldn’t impact trading access to the LME. Still, the rules potentially may prevent UK persons from withdrawing Russian metal they buy on the exchange.

The LME said earlier this month it was “actively monitoring for market orderliness” after a flood of Russian aluminum onto the exchange in the wake of UK sanctions.

Aluminum rose 3.2% on Tuesday, the biggest daily increase in a month. Alcoa Corp., the largest US aluminum producer, jumped as much as 10% before paring gains. Other metals were also higher, with zinc climbing 2.6% and copper up 0.7%.

(By Mark Burton)


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