London Metal Exchange Lifts Ban on Rusal Deals after U.S. Sanctions Decision

The London Metal Exchange (LME) has reversed a ban on trading and deals for Rusal-branded metal after the United States lifted sanctions on the Russian aluminum giant, the LME said in a statement Monday, according to Vedomosti.  

“Following [U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control] OFAC’s lifting of the Sanctions against Rusal, the LME has removed all previous restrictions around warranting of Rusal brand metal. It is also possible for members to enter into contracts with Rusal. These changes come into effect immediately,” an LME spokesperson said.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury said Sunday that Russia’s Rusal, EN+ Group and EuroSibEnergo were no longer under restrictive measures, but the sanctions against businessman Oleg Deripaska, who owns shares in these companies would remain in force.

The shares of Russian aluminum giants Rusal and En+ Group went up by 10 percent at the opening of the Moscow Stock Exchange on the news of sanctions removal. At the opening of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Rusal shares were up 7.7 percent.

Rusal does not disclose how much of the metal it sells through LME. According to ACRA analyst Maxim Khudalov, this is no more than 10–20% (about 40,000–80,000 tons of metal) of the company’s total sales.

The United States imposed sanctions against Deripaska and dozens of other Russian individuals and entities in April 2018 over their alleged links to the Russian government, which Washington accused of “malign activity.” Russia has said the United States was using the measures as a political tool to achieve economic goals.