Treasury will mull easing sanctions on Russian aluminum producer

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The US Treasury's initial sanctions on Rusal earlier this month, and the potential for secondary sanctions on non-US market participants, have propelled the duty-unpaid premium upward by 55% since the sanctions were implemented early in April.

France, Germany, Italy and Ireland are part of the coordinated European effort to alleviate the impact the new US sanctions could have on their own companies, a second French official said.

European leaders had been working to persuade Pres. Trump to ease sanctions on Russian Federation, and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said the "impact on our partners and allies" factored into the US reprieve.

Washington's clarification follows two weeks of chaos in global metal markets.

"This affects the whole production chain, all the way to vehicle producers and the aerospace industry, said one German expert". Treasury also blocked USA persons and businesses from transactions with Rusal and EN+ Group, the industrial holding company owned by Deripaska that controls Rusal.

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The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today issued General License 14 in the Ukraine-/Russia-related sanctions program.

As a result of these sanctions, Rusal is not permitted to sell material into the USA and its assets under United States jurisdiction are frozen.

Deripaska was targeted as part of a sanctions-package that hit dozens of Russian tycoons, companies and key allies of President Vladimir Putin.

Rusal declined to comment. Rusal, the world's second-largest aluminum producer.

Palladium plunged by as much as 5.4% and nickel as much 6.7%.

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At Russia's request, Mnuchin met with Siluanov during International Monetary Fund meetings in Washington last week. Deripaska's spokeswoman wasn't immediately available. The Russians were seeking "clarification" on United States sanctions, Mnuchin said to reporters Saturday, without elaborating.

Daniel Briesemann, an analyst at German lender Commerzbank, said the Treasury's announcement should calm things down. "It looks as if there was a lot of pressure from the U.S. aluminum downstream industry". However, the Russian oligarch is trying to save Rusal without surrendering control.

Even so, Treasury said it would not revoke the sanctions on Rusal until Deripaska was no longer its owner "absent other adverse information".

The drop in aluminum prices on Monday also prompted a selloff in other commodity markets as optimism seems to be spreading that the U.S. isn't likely to impose further sanctions on Russia's metals and energy companies.

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