Aluminium billet premiums in Europe are under pressure after US sanctions against Russian producer UC Rusal were removed, yet primary aluminium premiums have moved in the opposite direction.

Billet premiums in Italy and Spain were the most affected with increased availability of material and competitively lower offers pushing the market down. Fastmarkets assessed the premium for aluminium billet in Italy delivered duty-paid with 60-day payment terms at $480-500 per tonne on Friday February 1, down from $490-520 per tonne a week earlier. Traders said material at above $500 per tonne was not possible in Italy any longer with bearish pressure on the market now Rusal material is available again. Some offers were heard as low as $470 per tonne. The United States Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) on January 27 removed sanctions imposed on producer UC Rusal that had been in place for nearly 10 months. The sanctions initially pushed billet premiums in Italy to a three-year high of $540-580 per tonne on April 20, 2018, due to a tightening of spot market availability.