Aluminum Delivery Wait Times Surge at LME

Aluminum Delivery Wait Times Surge at LME

Viktorija Petrović
2 min read

Aluminum Delivery Wait Times Surge at London Metal Exchange

The London Metal Exchange (LME) is grappling with a significant surge in wait times for aluminum deliveries, with a delay of up to 159 days at Istim Metals' warehouses in Port Klang, Malaysia. This surge is attributed to a substantial influx of aluminum from Trafigura Group, a development that has led to severe disruptions, particularly due to the involvement of banks and hedge funds such as Citigroup and JPMorgan. This surge has significantly altered the composition of metal stocks in LME warehouses, notably reducing the Russian stock concentration from nearly 90% to 42%, despite an increase in the volume of Russian stocks. These shifts in stock composition occur against the backdrop of global supply chain disruptions and geopolitical tensions, which underscore the intricate dynamics influencing commodity markets. Despite regulatory interventions aimed at addressing market disruptions, the ongoing prevalence of these challenges highlights the persistent obstacles in fostering a fair and efficient market environment.

Key Takeaways

  • LME has experienced the longest aluminum delivery wait times since June 2021, reaching 159 days in May.
  • Trafigura Group's substantial aluminum delivery has resulted in significant delays at Istim Metals' Port Klang warehouses.
  • Banks and hedge funds, including Citigroup and JPMorgan, have contributed to exacerbating the delays through their purchases of aluminum.
  • The influx of Indian-origin aluminum has led to a reduction in Russian stock concentration in LME warehouses, now standing at 42%.
  • Despite efforts to regulate the market, the LME continues to grapple with challenges in preventing queue build-up for aluminum deliveries.


The escalation in aluminum delivery wait times at the LME, primarily attributed to Trafigura Group's large shipments and the involvement of financial institutions, mirrors broader strains in supply chains and geopolitics. This backlog not only impacts immediate logistics and costs for Istim Metals and relevant stakeholders but also signifies a shift in market dynamics with reduced Russian stock concentration. Short-term effects entail heightened operational challenges and potential price volatility, while long-term consequences may involve stricter regulations and a realignment of the market. The surge in Indian-origin aluminum delivery hints at a diversification strategy amid ongoing global tensions, potentially reshaping market equilibriums and influencing future trading patterns.

Did You Know?

  • The London Metal Exchange (LME): It is the world's oldest and largest market for industrial metals, facilitating trading in metals like copper, aluminum, lead, and zinc. The LME, based in London, UK, is a non-ferrous metals exchange where futures and options contracts are traded.
  • Trafigura Group: It is one of the largest physical commodities trading groups globally, specializing in energy and metals trading, including sourcing, storing, blending, transporting, and delivering physical commodities.
  • Hedge Funds: These funds are alternative investment vehicles using pooled funds to pursue active returns for accredited investors, often known for their high fees. In the context of the LME, hedge funds may engage in commodity investments such as aluminum as part of their strategy, potentially influencing market dynamics.

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