US targets Russian aluminum – Bloomberg
The Biden administration is considering a complete ban on Russian aluminum in response to Russia’s missile attacks in Ukraine, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing its sources.
According to the report, the White House is eyeing three options, that could include an outright ban, increasing tariffs to levels so punitive they would impose an effective ban, or sanctioning Russian company Rusal, which produces the metal.
Sources familiar with the decision-making told the media outlet that the US administration had initially held off sanctioning Russian aluminum, fearing it could disrupt global suppliers. However, there are fewer products left for the US and allies to ban in response to war escalations. The discussion by the White House has been ongoing for weeks, the sources note.
Industry experts have been warning such a move could destabilize metal markets around the globe. The embargo on the aluminum, which is crucial to most heavy industries, could potentially force consumers in the US and other countries into a rush to find replacement metal.
Russia is the world’s second-largest producer of aluminum after China. Data cited by Bloomberg shows that in the US alone Russian supplies traditionally account for some 10% of total aluminum imports. The country was the third-largest aluminum exporter to the US in August, statistics reportedly show.
Aluminum prices spiked 7% on the London Metal Exchange (LME) following the news of the potential embargo on the Russian supply.
Last week, LME, the largest industrial metals exchange in the world, launched a discussion paper to determine if the Russian metal should be banned from the bourse. It also has limited new deliveries of Russian zinc and copper to its warehouses as part of the sanctions imposed on Moscow by the UK government last month.
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