Singapore-based Swiss multinational commodities trader Trafigura Group Pte. Ltd. is discussing the purchase of about 150 thousand metric tons of aluminium from Russian aluminium giant UC Rusal, a move that experts see as a thumbing of the nose to rival commodities trader Glencore plc.
According to sources claiming knowledge of the situation who spoke to Bloomberg this week, the shipment would be on a delivered-China basis. Details of the potential deal have not been published, and the sources spoke on condition of anonymity as a result.
Both Trafigura and Glencore share a common heritage, as Glencore was founded by legendary commodities trader Marc Rich, and Trafigura came to be as the result of the work of former executives under Rich. The companies have long been neck-and-neck chasing the title of the biggest commodities trader on Earth.
Although Glencore has purchased large amounts of Rusal’s production in the past, the firm swore off Russian metal after its invasion of Ukraine a year ago. However, Trafigura apparently has no such qualms as far as aluminium goes, though it has severed ties with Russian oil interests.
Glencore continues to buy aluminium under previously settled contracts, which are expected to run through next year. It also continues to maintain a minority interest in En+ Group, which is Rusal’s parent company. The firm has no announced plans to change either of these arrangements.
Gary Nagle, Glencore’s chief executive officer, said earlier this month that they plan to honor the commitments they’ve already made to Rusal where possible.
“Russian metal is not sanctioned,” he said. “We have an existing contract, that’s a contract that existed before the war and we said we would keep doing — we have to, legally. Russian metal is being used around the world.”