Bhp Billiton (ASX:BHP)
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6 Months : From Dec 2018 to Jun 2019
By Amrith Ramkumar and David Hodari
Aluminum prices fell sharply Monday after the U.S. Treasury officially removed Russian producer Rusal from its sanctions list, stoking worries about additional metal hitting the market.
Aluminum for delivery in three months shed 2.8% to $1,867 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange. Prices had surged last April after the U.S. sanctioned Rusal, the world's second-largest aluminum producer, and majority owner Oleg Deripaska. Mr. Deripaska is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The company is a key supplier of aluminum to many European companies, so the sanctions sparked wild price swings for several days.
But aluminum fell later in the year on signs that the U.S. would lift sanctions if Mr. Deripaska divested his majority stake. The Treasury Department said Sunday Mr. Deripaska has delivered on that promise, and some analysts think prices could fall further if there are signs more aluminum will now be available to market participants.
"Focus will be on LME stocks and whether metal that was held off exchange would now become more visible to the market," said Edward Meir, a consultant at broker-dealer INTL FCStone, in a note to clients.
Fears of slowing global growth and waning demand from China, the world's largest consumer of industrial metals, also hurt materials prices Monday.
Most-active copper futures fell 1.8% to $2.68 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. On the LME, zinc for delivery in three months inched up 0.3% to $2,680 a metric ton. Tin was unchanged at $20,675, nickel fell 1.2% to $11,825 and lead dipped 1.5% to $2,078.
Elsewhere, prices of iron ore surged more than 5%, with some analysts anticipating that the deadly Friday collapse of a Vale SA dam in Brazil could lead to lower supply of the main ingredient in steel. The tragedy left at least 60 people dead and hundreds missing and has plunged the world's largest producer into a crisis.
Among precious metals, most-active gold futures for February delivery climbed 0.3% to $1,302.40 a troy ounce on the Comex. Stock-market volatility has pushed some analysts toward the haven metal, which has also benefited from signs of patience from the Federal Reserve because it struggles to compete with yield-bearing assets when interest rates rise. Gold is at its highest level since June.
Most-active silver futures added 0.4% to $15.760, while platinum fell 0.6% to $813.30 and palladium dropped 2.2% to $1,290.70.
Write to Amrith Ramkumar at firstname.lastname@example.org and David Hodari at David.Hodari@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 28, 2019 12:55 ET (17:55 GMT)
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