In other markets, aluminum prices fell sharply after USA officials said they could lift sanctions on Russian aluminum giant Rusal if Kremlin-tied oligarch Oleg Deripaska gave up control of the company. Rio Tinto (RIO) said it could no longer fulfill supply contracts for alumina sourced from joint operations with Rusal in Australia and Ireland because of the US sanctions.
Aluminium prices continued to fall on Tuesday after Washington gave U.S. customers of Russian producer United Company Rusal more time to close out their business with the company and comply with sanctions.
Traders sold metals' futures with a vengeance after the USA softened its stance on sanctions against United Co.
However, the US' largest producer of aluminium - Alcoa - dropped as prices fell on the suggestion supply would not be affected longer-term.
The sanctions, by threatening actions against companies with United States units doing business with the Rusal, also spurred worries of tighter aluminum supplies on the global market, sending prices of the metal soaring.
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"Red rag to a bull - or rather honey to a bear and ali fell precipitously: it's trading at 2500 - we take a look 20 minutes later and its trading at 2263", mused traders at Sucden Financial.
European leaders have worked to persuade U.S. President Donald Trump to ease sanctions on Russia, including measures against Russian aluminum producers, with the presidents of France and Russia poised to visit the White House this week.
The US dollar touched the highest level in more than three months as the 10-year Treasury yield rose as high as 2.99 percent, the highest level in four years. Or so markets seem to believe: Shortly after Mnuchin's announcement Monday, global aluminum prices nose-dived.
Rusal declined to comment on the Treasury Department announcement.
Rusal declined to comment on requests from global media, while Deripaska's spokeswoman wasn't immediately available.
Besides being close to the Kremlin, Deripaska was also once an associate of Trump's ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, a top target of U.S. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller in his investigation of ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.