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LONDON: Aluminium and nickel hovered near multi-year highs on Wednesday as Western nations sought to step up sanctions pressure on major metals producer Russia.

The United States, the European Union and Britain have targeted Russian banks and elites over Moscow’s deployment of troops in separatist regions of eastern Ukraine in one of the worst security crises in Europe in decades. Russia produces around 6% of the world’s aluminium and 7% of its mined nickel. The market for nickel, used in stainless steel and lithium ion batteries, was already undersupplied, with demand buoyant and supply dwindling, Briesemann said.

Benchmark aluminium on the London Metal Exchange (LME) eased 0.3% to $3,293 per tonne by 1705 GMT, close to a 2008 record of $3,380.15. Three-month nickel shed 0.6% to $24,410 a tonne, after climbing above $25,000 for the first time since 2011 in the previous session. RIO TINTO: Possible U.S. sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis may affect Russia’s aluminium industry, Rio Tinto Chief Executive Officer Jakob Stausholm said.

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