LONDON: Aluminium clawed back some of the previous day’s losses as uncertainty over supply from Russia ramps up price volatility. Benchmark aluminium on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 2.5% at $3,424 a tonne at 1719 GMT, having earlier been up 6.5%.
Used in transport, construction and packaging, aluminium prices jumped 20% after Russia attacked Ukraine on Feb. 24, reaching a record high of $4,075.50 on Monday before slumping to $3,300 on Wednesday.
Russia supplies about 6% of the world’s aluminium. It is also a significant producer of other metals as well as gas and coal used to power smelters. Many companies have stopped handling Russian goods, creating a supply squeeze and huge price rallies across commodities.
Britain on Thursday added Russian billionaires Oleg Deripaska and Roman Abramovich, both of whom have stakes in metals producers, to its sanctions list. “It is premature to already talk of a trend reversal,” said Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann. “In our opinion, the risks are still immense.”
MARKETS/FED: Global share markets slid on Thursday as inflation in the United States hit 7.9% and the European Central Bank accelerated its exit from extraordinary stimulus.
RUSSIA: The conflict in Ukraine entered its third week, with none of Russia’s stated objectives reached and talks between Ukraine and Russia’s foreign ministers yielding no breakthroughs.
The Kremlin has threatened to respond to what it calls “economic” war from the West.
MINING: Rio Tinto, became the first major mining company to say it was cutting all ties with Russian businesses. Goldman Sachs said it would exit Russia, the first major Wall Street bank to do so.
SPREADS: Cash copper, aluminium and zinc have flipped to a discount versus the three-month contracts, pointing to ample supply of quickly deliverable metal.
NICKEL: The LME does not expect to resume nickel trading before Friday after halting it on Tuesday when a short squeeze sent prices soaring above $100,000 a tonne.
The LME and Chinese regulators are trying to alleviate the impact from the price spike, and the LME’s chief executive called for it to have more powers to intervene.
METALS PRICES: LME copper was up 1.2% at $10,126 a tonne, zinc fell 3% to $3,822.50, lead was down 2% at $2,357 and tin slipped 0.6% to $43,955.