Individuals claiming knowledge of the situation told Reuters this week that Glencore has sent 40 thousand metric tons of aluminium from Russia to London Metal Exchange warehouses in the Republic of Korea.
Two sources who spoke to the wire service on condition of anonymity said Glencore had in its possession too much Russian aluminium than it could deliver to LME warehouses. Per the sources, the 40 thousand metric tons of aluminium was deposited in ISTIM UK’s warehouses in Gwangyang.
The sources say Glencore previously deposited an amount of Russian aluminium in those same warehouses in October, but they did not specify an amount. They say the Russian aluminium is being stored in LME warehouses off warrant, or without title documents showing ownership.
“They (Glencore) are holding a fair amount off warrant in South Korea. There could be more to come.”
According to LME data, just under 81 thousand metric tons of off-warrant aluminium was stored in the Gwangyang warehouses in November.
The LME mulled banning Russian aluminium in its system after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago but ultimately opted to continue to deal in Russian aluminium as much of the global aluminium market was expected to buy Russian aluminium this year. As a result of allowing Russian aluminium, the LME said it expected “additional tonnages of Russian metal” would find its way to LME warehouses.
Glencore is in the midst of a long-term contract to purchase aluminium from UC Rusal that has the latter delivering to the former about 1.6 million metric tons each year for 2021 through 2024. Glencore opted not to comment on the situation, while Rusal represented to Reuters that none of its aluminium has been sent to LME warehouses.
Currently Russian aluminium accounts for about 6 percent of the global supply of aluminium. Russian aluminium is not currently under sanction, and, despite some buyers swearing off Russian aluminium, most other buyers continue to buy from Rusal.