Aluminium and nickel sent on a rollercoaster ride over Russia sanction fears

Courtney Goldsmith
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Alcoa Aluminum Factory
Commodities were on the rise today (Source: Getty)

Metals markets have rallied today as pressure from US sanctions on Russia and rising oil prices boost commodities to multi-year highs.

Aluminium giant Rusal continues to feel the heat from sanctions issued earlier this month to target Russian oligarchs and the companies they control.

The metal rose to highs not seen since 2011 today while its raw metal alumina hit an all-time high on fears over tightening global supplies, but they retreated after Russia said it was mulling the idea of temporarily nationalising Rusal, which has lost two thirds of its value since the sanctions were announced.

"As sanctions shock the sale of six per cent global aluminium production, the Russian major is likely to target sales in alternative markets across the Middle East, Turkey and China to make up for lost exports into western markets," analysts at SP Angel said, noting that Rusal's Hong Kong shares had regained 15 per cent today as officials met Chinese companies and traders.

"While potential options are on the table, Chinese officials are expectedly cautious due to the risk of contravening sanctions," the analysts said.

Nickel jumps

After gathering steam last night, nickel continued to soar this morning, topping $16,690 per tonne on fears the world's second-biggest producer, Nornickel, could also be hit by sanctions. However, it also pulled back as aluminium fell.

"Nickel clocked its single largest intraday grain since the financial crisis as the stainless steel metal become ensnared in US sanction concerns and rising battery demand," SP Angel said.

"The strong gain in nickel price only served to highlight the spreading concerns surrounding Russian mining companies."

Oil meanwhile drove to a fresh three and a half-year high of more than $74 (£52) a barrel.

Read more: Aluminium climbs to near seven-year high on fears over Rusal supplies

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