Russia’s Rusal: 2023 sales pick up after LME decision

Rusal smelter. (Image by Rusal).

Russian aluminum producer Rusal said on Saturday that its sales for 2023 have picked up after the London Metal Exchange (LME) decided not to ban Russian metal from being traded and stored in its system.

The exchange, the world’s oldest and largest market for industrial metals, launched a discussion paper on the subject in October and then said on Nov. 11 it had decided against banning Russian metal as a significant portion of the market was still planning to buy it.

“The decision to maintain Rusal’s aluminum on the exchange, above all, is in the best interests of our global customer base. We have picked up additional contractual sales for 2023 after the LME’s decision, exceeding our initial forecasts,” Rusal said in an emailed comment.

Rusal’s sales had already exceeded 76% of its primary aluminum and value-added production for 2023, the company said, confirming an earlier source-based report by Reuters.

Russia is a major producer of aluminum, while Rusal itself is the world’s largest producer of the metal outside China. Neither Rusal nor Russian-produced aluminum have been directly targeted by sanctions imposed on Moscow since it sent its troops into Ukraine in February.

US-based aluminum producer Alcoa and several other producers have publicly called for Russian metal to be excluded from the LME. However, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters in October that commodity trader Glencore will buy aluminum from Rusal next year.

“Demand for low carbon aluminum is driven largely by the automotive sector and we are seeing renewed interest from across the globe,” Rusal added in its comment.

(By Polina Devitt; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

Note from Reuters: This content was produced in Russia where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine.

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