Aluminium prices rose on Monday after Australia’s announcement to ban exports of alumina and aluminium ores to Russia exacerbated fears of supply disruption of the lightweight metal.
The move will limit Russia’s capacity to produce aluminium, one of its critical exports, the Australian government said.
“This could see Russia having to rely on China for any shortfall in alumina,” ING said in a note.
Russia accounts for about 6% of global supply of aluminium and 10% of nickel, and is a major producer of natural gas used to generate electricity that powers production of metals.
German aluminium maker Trimet will cut production at its main factory in Essen by half in the coming weeks amid huge costs for the energy-intense production process.
LME aluminium may test resistance at $3,705 this week
Three-month aluminium on the London Metal Exchange (LME) climbed 3.7% to $3,507 a tonne by 0940 GMT, after hitting a peak since March 10.
The most-traded May aluminium contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed up 2.3% at 23,105 yuan ($3,635.38) a tonne, having earlier hit its highest since March 8.
“Traders are concerned about any further disruption in supply as the war extends,” said Kunal Sawhney, chief executive officer at research firm Kalkine.
“The demand for aluminium has soared globally while there is a supply deficit that may keep supporting aluminium prices in the near-to medium-term.”
Ukraine defied a Russian demand that its forces lay down arms before dawn on Monday in Mariupol, where hundreds of thousands of civilians have been trapped in a city under siege and laid to waste by Russian bombardment.
LME copper fell 0.9% to $10,243 a tonne, lead inched 0.1% to $2,254, zinc was 1.8% higher at $3,895 and tin fell 1.4% to $41,705.
ShFE copper rose 0.1% to 72,880 yuan a tonne, lead eased 0.2% to 15,200 yuan, zinc gained 0.6% to 25,560 yuan and tin climbed 1% to 337,000 yuan. The most-traded August nickel contract fell 5.6% to 196,100 yuan a tonne, having earlier hit a one-week low at 195,000 yuan.
The LME will raise its daily price limit for nickel trading to 15% from 12% effective Monday, it said.
Barrick Gold has ended a long-running dispute with Pakistan and will now start to develop one of the world’s biggest gold and copper mining projects under an agreement signed on Sunday.
Top metals consumer China kept its benchmark interest rate for corporate and household lending unchanged on Monday, as expected, although analysts say the case for monetary stimulus is building amid mounting external risks to an already slowing economy.