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Aluminum Risks Return to Crisis With Rusal Left Out in the Cold

  • Russian producer may need to cut aluminum output next year
  • Annual negotiations take place at Berlin industry gathering
Aluminum bar clamps sit on a pallet at the Dubuque Clamp Works facility in Dubuque, Iowa U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. Dubuque Clamp Works has been operating in Dubuque, Iowa, for the last four decades. Today, the company turns away new orders, partly because so much of the supply chain it relies on has moved abroad.
Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

The aluminum industry is running out of time to avoid another crisis as U.S. sanctions leave United Co. Rusal locked out of crucial contract negotiations kicking off this week in Berlin.

The U.S. allowed Rusal customers with existing supply deals to keep doing business with the company until Oct. 23, but not to sign new contracts. Unless the U.S. Treasury lifts the sanctions in time -- which remains a possibility -- the No. 2 supplier of aluminum will be sidelined from the annual negotiations and could soon be forced to scale back output of products used in everything from alloy wheels to airplane fuselages.