BASIC METALS-Aluminum bucks downtrend on Russian supply fears; copper drops

By Eric Onstad

LONDON, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Aluminum prices rose on Tuesday, shrugging off gloomy sentiment in financial markets on supply concerns from top producer Russia amid rising tensions over Ukraine.

* Russian company Rusal is one of the world’s largest aluminum producers and prices soared to seven-year highs in 2018 as the United States imposed sanctions on the company.

* At 1130 GMT, three-month aluminum on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 1.6% at $3.076 a tonne, marking a sharp contrast to losses in most other metals.

* “As we saw a few years ago, when there were sanctions on Rusal, the price skyrocketed. So if sanctions are imposed on Russia because it invades Ukraine, it could jeopardize the supply of many metals, including aluminium,” said the independent consultant Robin Bhar. “In addition, due to the energy crisis in China and Europe, production has already been reduced by 700,000 tons per year.”

* Moscow said on Tuesday it was watching with great concern the US decision to put 8,500 troops on standby to be ready to deploy to Europe in the event of an escalation in the Ukraine crisis.

* Global financial markets are on edge over rising tensions over Ukraine and ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting. Global stocks are headed for their biggest monthly decline since the pandemic hit markets in March 2020.

* Most base metals extended their decline after heavy losses on Monday.

* In other base metals, nickel on the LME was down 0.2% at $22,350 a tonne, after falling 6.8% on Monday; copper was down 0.5% at $9,680.50; lead was down 0.4% at $2,349.50; tin fell 3% to $41,290; and zinc was up 0.2% at $3,601.50.

* For updated prices of industrial metals:







(Additional reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; Spanish editing by Carlos Serrano)

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