COLUMN-LME aluminium stocks battle comes with a Russian twist – by Andy Home (Reuters – June 5, 2023)

LONDON, June 5 (Reuters) – There was another raid on London Metal Exchange (LME) aluminium stocks last week. While headline inventory MALSTX-TOTAL fell by a marginal 1,475 tonnes over the holiday-shortened week, available stocks slumped by 19% thanks to 83,875 tonnes of net cancellations.

It was the second swoop on exchange stocks of aluminium in the space of a month after the mass cancellation of 132,700 tonnes of metal on May 10. LME on-warrant stocks have fallen from over 500,000 tonnes in the middle of April to a four-month low of 324,650 tonnes.

LME time-spreads have been turbulent, the benchmark cash-to-three-months period flexing out to a backwardation of $42 per tonne on Thursday before snapping back to a contango of $29 at the Friday close.

Aluminium trading in London has long been characterised by such bouts of volatility as powerful traders battle it out across visible inventory and time-spreads. But this time around the turbulence comes with a distinctly Russian twist.

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