MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Rio Tinto will be among the biggest winners from the U.S. sanctions imposed on Russian aluminum giant United Company Rusal as the penalties further shake up the global metals trade and boost costs for U.S. consumers, industry sources said on Monday.
The United States on Friday imposed the sanctions against businessmen, companies and government officials that are considered associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin in one of Washington’s most aggressive moves to punish Moscow for a range of activities.
Rusal, the world’s second-largest aluminum producer, and its former President Oleg Deripaska were included on the list. Rusal said the sanctions “may be materially adverse to the business and prospects of the group.” Shares plunged 50 percent in Hong Kong on Monday.
Traders and analysts said the sanctions would accelerate a rerouting of global aluminum shipments that began last month after the U.S. imposed a 10 percent duty on aluminum imports under the so-called “Section 232” of U.S. trade laws.
“It probably reroutes a lot of the trade flows,” said analyst Daniel Morgan at UBS in Sydney. “It is beneficial if you are a producer that is (compliant with the section 232 tariffs) because you’ve got an ability to sell into the U.S. and other markets.”