© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Russian aluminium producer Rusal is seen on a board at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2017 (SPIEF 2017) in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/
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MOSCOW (Reuters) -The chairman of EN+, which owns a 57% stake in aluminium producer Rusal, dismissed media reports that Washington is weighing restricting imports of Russian metal, saying Rusal remained in full compliance with U.S. regulations.
Media reports on the possibility of import restrictions of Russian aluminium were “irresponsible market speculation,” EN+ Chairman Christopher Burnham said.
Global aluminium prices soared after the news because Rusal is the world’s largest aluminium producer outside China, supplying the world with 6% of its needs estimated at around 70 million tonnes this year.
“The article is simply wrong … We are committed to fulfilling our contracts in the USA and worldwide,” Burnham said in a statement.
Rusal was subject to U.S. sanctions between April 2018 and early 2019, when its founder, businessman Oleg Deripaska agreed to relinquish control in exchange of removal of sanctions from the aluminium producer.
“When the U.S. sanctioned Rusal aluminium in that year, the LME price [the London Metal Exchange] jumped 29% and there was a scramble to find alternative material by U.S. manufacturers,” Burnham said.
“Irresponsible market speculation of this sort only benefits our competitors who have publicly advocated for restricting our market access, but hurts the American consumer and the U.S. economy,” he added.
U.S.-based aluminium producer Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) on Thursday said it is lobbying the White House to block American imports of the metal from Russia.