Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Alcoa stock has worst day in nine years on Russian rival's reprieve

OLGA MALTSEVA  AFP  Getty Images OLGA MALTSEVA AFP Getty Images
Lindsey Cook | 24 April, 2018, 05:11

Given the impact on "partners and allies", Mnuchin also said that both "US citizens and non-US citizens are now authorized to engage in specified transactions related to winding down or maintaining business" with Rusal and its subsidiaries until October 23. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also said the department would consider a petition from Rusal to lift the sanctions, given the economic troubles the actions caused for US allies. He owns 48 percent of Rusal and controls it through a shareholder agreement with others including Glencore PLC and Viktor Vekselberg, who is also under sanctions.

The mitigation of sanctions was provoked by the petition on excluding Rusal securities from the quotation list of the stock exchange, submitted by the company itself.

In the longer term, the USA put the resolution of the sanctions in Moscow's hands, saying it would drop the curbs on Rusal if billionaire owner Oleg Deripaska were to sell his stake and relinquish control. Even if sanctions are not ultimately lifted, buyers also have more time to seek other suppliers.

Alcoa (AA) plummeted 12% on Monday morning, after the US Treasury Department softened its aluminum sanctions.

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"The market is clearly taking this as light at the end of the tunnel for Rusal", said Oliver Nugent, a metals analyst at Dutch bank ING Groep NV.

Prices of aluminum have soared by more than 30 percent since the USA sanctions announcement.

On Monday, the Treasury Department said it will consider easing the sanctions on Rusal if Deripaska divests. He held a meeting with acting U.S. Secretary of State John Sullivan on Saturday during which the United States pledged its backing for Kiev but urged it to implement economic reforms, a U.S. representative said. Deripaska is a central figure in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. However, the Russian oligarch is trying to save Rusal without surrendering control. According to Morgan Stanley, it supplied almost 10% of US aluminum imports past year, according to Morgan Stanley, as reported by Reuters. "It is not clear whether potential cancellation of this shareholder agreement would be enough" to satisfy US officials, he said. He has been denied a travel visa to the US multiple times, with the latest instance in 2016, despite pleas on his behalf from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

"It should calm things down", said Daniel Briesemann, an analyst at Commerzbank AG.

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