U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration on Sunday lifted sanctions on the core empire of Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska, including aluminum giant Rusal and its parent En+, despite a Democrat-led push to maintain them.
The move, which sent the Russian stock index to an all-time high, has watered down the toughest penalties imposed since Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, following a lobbying campaign in the United States that lasted almost 10 months.
Hong-Kong listed shares in Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer outside China, hit their highest since April on Monday, rising 9 percent.
Aluminum prices on the London Metal Exchange (LME) dropped as much as 1.4 percent after the open. The sanctions had sent London aluminum to a seven-year high when they were announced in April last year amid fears of a supply squeeze.
On Monday, the LME said it had lifted its suspension on storing Rusal-produced metal in LME-approved warehouses with immediate effect.
“Members may freely enter into contracts with Rusal and its affiliates,” the LME said in a statement.
The decision to lift the sanctions, imposed by the U.S. Treasury in response to what it called Russia’s “malign activities”, defied a Democratic-led push in the U.S. Congress to maintain the restrictions.
Earlier this month, Democrats were joined by 11 of Trump’s fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate in an effort to keep the sanctions on Rusal, En+ Group and power firm JSC EuroSibEnergo.
Advocates for keeping the sanctions had argued that Deripaska, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, retained too much control over the companies.
Aluminium ingots made at the Rusal Krasnoyarsk aluminium