G7 ministers to discuss Russian Federation, but not sanctions

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and European Commission Chief Jean Claude Juncker hold a joint press conference following their meeting in Brussels Belgium

ALUMINUM FOILED: The Treasury Department extended a deadline for US companies to stop doing business with Rusal, and also said it could change its stance on sanctions against the company if billionaire businessman Oleg Deripaska gives up control.

USA sanctions against Rusal, which produces roughly 7 percent of the world's aluminum, sent prices for the metal their highest levels in several years. These include the 20% stake Rusal owns in Rio's Gladstone alumina refinery and supply deals for bauxite and alumina, as well as metal with other buyers.

For example, in updated "Frequently Asked Questions", the Treasury said that non-U.S. entities would not be subject to sanctions for transactions related to winding-down contracts with Rusal in the period to October 23, and that payments related to such dealings wouldn't have to be payed into a blocked account.

Rusal was one of several firms to be hit with punitive sanctions earlier this month as part of a range of measures created to hit back at the Kremlin following its meddling in elections, cyberattacks, and military actions in Ukraine and Syria. The most-actively traded palladium futures in NY dropped 5.4%.

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At Russia's request, Mnuchin met with Siluanov during International Monetary Fund meetings in Washington last week.

While analysts have suggested that nationalisation may be the only solution, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters on Friday that Rusal was not on the list to be nationalized. Deripaska's spokeswoman wasn't immediately available. However, the Russian oligarch is trying to save Rusal without surrendering control.

Washington's clarification follows two weeks of chaos in global metal markets.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today issued General License 14 in the Ukraine-/Russia-related sanctions program.

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Rusal produces about 6 percent of the world's aluminum and operates mines, smelters and refineries across the world from Guinea to Ireland and Russian Federation to Jamaica.

"It should calm things down", said Daniel Briesemann, an analyst at Commerzbank AG. "It looks as if there was a lot of pressure from the U.S. aluminum downstream industry", he told the news agency Bloomberg. It had jumped to a seven-year high last week.

Oleg Deripaska's company RUSAL has suffered the most from the recent sanctions.

Energy futures on the other hand fared much better, with front month Brent crude oil futures on the ICE tacking on 0.46% to see the day out from $74.40 a barrel.

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