Journal De Bruxelles - Shares in Russia's top aluminium producer plunge

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Shares in Russia's top aluminium producer plunge
Shares in Russia's top aluminium producer plunge

Shares in Russia's top aluminium producer plunge

Shares in Russian aluminium giant Rusal plunged 26 percent on Wednesday after the world's largest commodity trader said it would review its business ties in Russia while condemning the country's invasion of Ukraine.

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Rusal's Hong Kong-listed shares were down as much as 29 percent in morning trading, the biggest drop since April 2018, when the company was last sanctioned by the United States.

Aluminium is trading near an all-time high as Russia's attack on its European neighbour has threatened to disrupt commodity supply.

Commodities trader Glencore on Tuesday said it would review its stake in Rusal's controlling shareholder, En+ Group International PJSC, citing the conflict's "devastating" human impact.

"Glencore condemns the actions taken by the Russian government against the people of Ukraine. ... We are reviewing all our business activities in the country including our equity stakes in En+ and Rosneft," the company said in a statement.

The move follows a wave of Western companies moving to divest themselves of stakes in Russian companies or suspend doing business in the country.

Glencore owns 10.55 percent of En+ and a stake of less than one percent in Russian oil major Rosneft PJSC, according to Bloomberg.

Rusal is also under pressure after the world's biggest shipping groups, including Danish giant Maersk, announced Wednesday they were suspending Russian deliveries, Bloomberg reported.

Aluminium prices hit an all-time record of $3,525 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange on Monday, before hitting an intra-day high of $3,506 Wednesday.

Rusal accounts for most of Russia's aluminium exports and contributes about five percent of global output.

The company on Monday said it had halted shipments from a refinery in Ukraine that supplied raw materials for smelters in Russia.

The United States in 2018 sanctioned Rusal citing "malign activity around the globe" by Russia, causing alumnium prices to spike worldwide.

The earlier curbs were lifted after Rusal's billionaire founder Oleg Deripaska agreed to cede control.

Deripaska on Monday called on Russia to put an end to "all this state capitalism" to mitigate the economic impact of Western sanctions.

I.Servais--JdB