Metal stocks take a hit as global aluminium prices fall

Metal stocks take a hit as global aluminium prices fall

So far, the US has sanctioned 14 individuals as well as many companies who are believed to be closely allied with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Metal stocks have had a good run in the past few weeks, largely on the back of higher aluminium prices due to the imposition of these sanctions.

In non-earnings news, aluminium manufacturer Alcoa plunged 13.5 per cent after USA officials softened sanctions on Russian aluminium giant Rusal, sending aluminum prices sharply lower.

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The department also said it could change its stance on sanctions against the Russian aluminum company if billionaire businessman Oleg Deripaska gives up control.

Thus, the United States authorities make it clear that sanctions can be mitigated if Deripaska sells his assets and abandons the company. In that same action, OFAC designated EN+ Group for being owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, Oleg Deripaska and other entities he owns or controls.

As a result of these sanctions, Rusal is not permitted to sell material into the USA and its assets under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen.

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On Monday, the Treasury Department said it will consider easing the sanctions on Rusal if Deripaska divests.

Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd shares fell as much as 44 sen or 9% to RM4.66 with global aluminium prices after the USA gave American customers of Russia's largest aluminium producer United Co Rusal Plc more time to comply with sanctions. But Treasury's actions suggest that it is eager to avoid inconveniencing Rusal's business partners, and thus, that some mutually agreeable arrangement will likely be reached between the USA and the company before the wind-down period is through.

The stockpiles of aluminum will now be easier to sell because the Treasury said it will give US customers of Rusal until October 23 instead of June 5 to wind down their business wih Rusal. The decision not to impose secondary sanctions particularly benefits European customers of Rusal.

Aluminum prices dropped more than 8 percent on Treasury's announcement.

Wood Mackenzie analysts say the decision provides "much-needed breathing space" for the aluminum market, and it "expect (s) near-term correction and volatility" in prices.

Rusal declined to comment.

Rusal declined to comment on requests from worldwide media, while Deripaska's spokeswoman wasn't immediately available.

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