July 2, 2018 / 7:29 AM / in 10 months

Trafigura rehires trader from Rusal's China JV

BEIJING, July 2 (Reuters) - The Rusal-appointed deputy general manager of Chinese trading joint venture North United Aluminium (Shenzhen) Co Ltd has left his position to return to Trafigura, in the latest blow for the embattled Russian aluminium producer.

Jet Liang had been at North United Aluminium, Rusal’s JV alongside state-owned China North Industries Corp (Norinco) since March 2015. He previously headed Trafigura’s office in Guangzhou, where he was also in charge of refined metals trading during 2011-15.

Liang told Reuters he left the Shenzhen-based JV at the end of June and Monday was his first day in Trafigura’s Shanghai office as a senior aluminium trader.

Rusal declined to comment while Trafigura did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Liang’s departure means Rusal’s regional sales presence has taken another hit after Singapore-based Asia sales chief Chris Hoet left the U.S. sanctions-hit company on May 15.

The sanctions, first announced on Apr. 6, make it difficult for any Rusal customers with U.S. exposure to keep buying its metal. Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska stepped down as a director of Rusal in May, in a move he hoped would persuade the U.S. government to rescind the sanctions.

The company elected a new board of directors last Thursday.

Rusal’s Shenzhen JV was set up in 2012 to focus on aluminium, alloys and other non-ferrous metals trading on the Chinese market, according to a statement released at the time.

Two sources with knowledge of the venture’s operations said it does not usually import Russian metal into China unless the arbitrage to do so is open. (Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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