WOW!!!!!!! Do you see what I see? The USA has blustered its way into a corner it appears…and with Asia and the UK  economically aligning with Russia….-A.M.

Published time: March 24, 2014 13:41

RIA Novosti/Sergey PivovarovRIA Novosti/Sergey Pivovarov

Russian metal producers are looking to expand into Asian markets, in case the US and the EU impose sanctions on Russia.

The CEO of Norilsk Nickel, Vladimir Potanin said his company won’t rule out increasing supplies of nickel and palladium to China and Japan, Vedomosti reports. Other Russian metal producers such as Mechel and Metalloinvest say they could switch to Asian markets, while they didn’t specify the sales volumes.

Andrey Varichev, the CEO of Metalloinvest, said that taking into account the capacity of Russian Railways, Metalloinvest logistics could move deliver part of its production to markets in the Far East, including China, but the target market for Metalloinvest will always remain Russia, he added.

According to Potanin, Norilsk Nickel is also considering measures to shield against possible sanctions from the US and EU.

We have large volume of operations in the Chinese market, but the main payment currencies are dollar and euro. In principle, nobody hinders settlements in such currencies as the yuan for deliveries to China. We decided to explore this issue, to look how it’ll function,” Potanin said.

Metalloinvest and Mechel also confirmed they are considering using the yuan as the main currency in deals with China.

Meanwhile, Potanin doesn’t believe there will be tough sanctions as “they are unnecessary, uninteresting and harmful to both parties“. “But in a case of specific emotional actions of regulators or of certain countries — just in case — it is necessary to study what we will do in this situation,” he said.

However a BKS analyst Kirill Chuyko says the reorientation to the Chinese market would be too expensive for companies such as Evraz, as firstly the logistic costs are too high. On top of that, “China is the largest steel producer. Even some subsidized national plants go bankrupt. There would be no opportunity to compete with domestic producers, while selling steel below cost won’t make economic sense.

UK to start directly buying Russian gas

Published time: March 24, 2014 11:02
Edited time: March 24, 2014 18:51

Reuters/Paul HackettReuters/Paul Hackett

Britain will begin buying Russian gas directly this year, while the rest of Europe is attempting to cut its reliance on supplies from Moscow amidst the crisis in Ukraine.

Under a deal signed in 2012 the UK’s biggest utility company Centrica will start importing Russian gas from October this year, Reuters reports.

The deal remains in the pipeline, despite EU calls to move away from energy reliance on Russia. On Friday European Union leaders discussed the possible ways to diversify, as they say Crimea’s annexation by Russia made them more determined to take action.

UK domestic gas production is falling by about 7 percent annually, and the country is looking for alternative sources to fill the gap.

Supplies of Russian gas, which already provide a third of Europe’s needs, reach Britain through the central and south eastern parts of the continent, rather than directly. Most of Britain’s imports comes piped from Norway and liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments from further afield.

Most Russian supplies have recently been from storage in Germany.

Russia’s energy major Gazprom sells between 11 billion and 12 billion cubic metres to the UK, which is about 15 percent of country’s total need.