Shares in Russia`s Rusal jump 12% on upbeat aluminium demand outlook
Mining News Pro - Russian aluminum giant Rusal expects demand for aluminum to grow in 2019 and sees potential for prices to rise, it said on Friday, sending its Hong Kong-listed shares up 12% to a 10-month high.

According to Mining News Pro - Shares in Rusal, the world`s largest aluminum producer outside China, hit their highest since April when the United States imposed sanctions on the company and its co-owner Oleg Deripaska because of his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After talks and several extensions of the deadline for sanctions to take full effect, Deripaska agreed to reduce his stake in Rusal via its parent company En+. Sanctions against Rusal and En+ were lifted in January.

"The company was operating under the sanctions for the majority of 2018. These circumstances coupled with other factors ... led to certain changes to ordinary levels of operational performance," Rusal said in a statement.

Its aluminum production rose 1.3% in 2018 to 3.75-million tonnes, while aluminum sales fell 7.2% to 3.67-million tonnes.

The share of value added products (VAP) in total sales fell to 45% from 47%. These sales were significantly challenged by short extensions to the deadline for US sanctions taking full effect in the last quarter of 2018, Rusal said.

"The aluminum market is in heavy deficit and demand is set to improve, the aluminum price has upside potential," Rusal said, adding that its 2018 average aluminum price rose by 7.3% to $2 259 per tonne.

It said the aluminum market faced supply disruptions and soaring production costs, while about 50% of production facilities outside China and 60% in China were making a loss based on current London prices and average market premiums.

Aluminum production outside China was flat at 27.6-million tonnes in 2018, but demand rose by 2.8% to 30-million tonnes thus retaining 2.4-million tonnes of deficit, Rusal said.

It said further supply disruptions were possible, given most smelters outside China were making a loss.

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