Aluminium has clawed back some lost ground after four straight days of losses, but remained down 18 per cent from its April peak as concerns over the impact of US sanctions on Russian producer United Company Rusal eased.
Prices of the metal, used in products from food cans to aeroplane parts, soared after the sanctions were announced, but fell sharply on Monday as the United States gave US customers of Rusal more time to comply.
‘If the sanctions had been placed on Rusal in full as seemed likely last week, it would have been very disruptive for global supply chains,’ Capital Economics analyst Caroline Bain said. ‘There could have been a shortfall of aluminium in the world (excluding) China.’
‘Now that the conditions of the sanctions have been eased and there is more time for the world to adapt to not using Russian metal, …prices have come off again.’
* LME ALUMINIUM: Three-month aluminium on the London Metal Exchange closed 0.8 per cent higher at $US2,245 a tonne, still down by nearly a fifth from the seven-year peak of $US2,718 it hit on Thursday.
* INVENTORIES: Headline aluminium stocks in London Metal Exchange warehouses fell 5,850 tonnes, exchange data showed on Wednesday. On-warrant inventories – those not earmarked for delivery and available to the market – rose 3,350 tonnes after five straight days of declines.
* ALUMINIUM TECHNICALS: LME aluminium may test support at $US2,152 a tonne, a break below which could cause a loss to the next support at $US2,078, Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said in a report.
* RUSSIA: Russia’s En+ Group, owned by sanctions-hit businessman Oleg Deripaska, said its chief executive officer and its chief financial officer resigned on Tuesday, with replacements appointed to both posts.
* ALNORTE: Norsk Hydro ASA has halted alumina output at two of seven production lines at its Alunorte alumina refinery in Brazil, its CEO said on Wednesday.
* ZINC STOCKS: Zinc inventories in LME warehouses , which hit their lowest in a decade in February, surged 28,150 tonnes or 15.5 per cent, the exchange data showed on Wednesday. LME zinc ended down 2.4 per cent at $US3,135 a tonne, the biggest faller among industrial metals.
* COPPER PRICES: Bellwether industrial metal copper finished the day down 0.1 per cent at $US7,008 a tonne.
* OTHER METALS: Nickel closed 1.1 per cent higher at $US14,145 a tonne, up for the first time in five days. It fell from its April 19 peak of $US16,690, a three-year high, as fears of sanctions spreading eased. Tin finished up 0.7 per cent at $US21,250, and lead ended at $US2,306, down 0.2 per cent.