First import tariff hikes against China, now sanctions against Russia: Donald Trump’s US has caused huge ructions in the world’s steel and aluminium markets. Business Day caught up with local aluminium product producer Hulamin and asked CEO Richard Jacob what effect these tectonic trade wars are having. We’re like the milling company that mills the grain: the price of the grain, which is the LME (London Metals Exchange) aluminium price, doesn’t really affect us. Customers pay the aluminium price and we charge them a fee to convert raw aluminium that comes from a smelter such as South32 or Rusal. That’s our selling price. So, to some extent, it doesn’t actually matter what the aluminium price is? If the LME moves up or down, that price gets passed on. Hulamin’s shares have risen considerably in the wake of the Russian sanctions. But has the market misunderstood how sanctions may affect you? There’s a lot going on in the aluminium space right now, particularly in the US. Think of the ...

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