Rusal calls for LME to disclose origin of all metal stocks

Bratsk aluminium smelter. (Reference image by UC Rusal Photo Gallery, Wikimedia Commons).

Russian aluminum producer Rusal has called for the London Metal Exchange (LME) to start regularly disclosing the origin of all metal stocks on warrant rather than singling out Russia as proposed, it said in a letter.

The LME, the world’s oldest and largest market for industrial metals, said last week it will not ban Russian metal from being traded and stored in its system as a significant portion of the market is still planning to buy the country’s metal in 2023, but it has proposed identifying the metal instead.

Russia is a major global producer of aluminum, and Rusal itself is the world’s largest aluminum producer outside China. Neither the company, nor the Russia-produced metal have been directly targeted by sanctions imposed on Moscow after it sent troops to Ukraine on Feb. 24.

“From January the LME plans to publish a monthly report on the percentage of live Russian metal on warrant,” Rusal said in a letter to the LME welcoming the decision not to delist its brands from the exchange.

“We are naturally concerned that any such report would be restricted to Russian metal only,” it said, adding that the LME’s report, covering all regions, comes once a year – in early April.

“In order to best serve the market through transparency, without singling out any specific origin or producer, we seek your confirmation that any future reports would contain the split of metal from all regions, similar to the annual release,” the Russian producer added.

The LME is considering the format of the monthly report it intends to publish and will work to ensure this best meets the need of all stakeholders, the exchange said on Thursday.

Rusal maintains a solid sales book moving in to 2023, and has no intention of delivering its metal to the exchange, the producer said in the letter to the LME dated Wednesday and released on Thursday.

US-based aluminum producer Alcoa has been publicly calling for Russian metal to be excluded from being traded and stored on the exchange. Several other producers have also called for a ban publicly.

However, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters in October that commodity trader Glencore would buy aluminum from Rusal next year and that the Russian producer had already sold 76% of its primary aluminum and value-added products for 2023.

(By Polina Devitt, Anastasia Lyrchikova and Pratima Desai; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Elaine Hardcastle)

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