Aluminum price streaks to record on fears logistics issues will hit supply

Stock image.

Aluminum prices bolted to a fresh record peak on Wednesday as investors worried that logistics difficulties would block metals supplies due to tough sanctions on major producer Russia.

Three-month aluminum on the London Metal Exchange surged to a record of $3,552 a tonne before paring gains to trade at $3,532 by 1100 GMT, up 1.6%.

[Click here for interactive aluminum price chart]

Aluminum has soared by 37% over the past 2-1/2 months, initially on weaker output due to power issues, and recently has hit successive record highs after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Aluminum price.

“We’re now seeing the second round effects from the sanctions,” said analyst Daniel Briesemann at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

“Logistics issues will get even worse and supply problems are on the cards right now.”

Briesemann said he was in the midst of upgrading his metals forecasts and added that he would not be surprised to see aluminum touch $4,000 a tonne.

Sanctions by Western nations have prompted the world’s three biggest container lines to suspend cargo shipments to and from Russia at a time when aluminum inventories are low.

Stocks of aluminum in LME-registered warehouses have more than halved over the past 12 months to 809,750 tonnes versus nearly 2 million tonnes in March last year.

Russia produces about 6% of the world’s aluminum and accounts for about 7% of global nickel mine supplies. It is also a major producer of natural gas used to generate electricity.

(By Eric Onstad; Editing by Aditya Soni)


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