Shares in Russian companies plummet on USA sanction fears

Aluminium giant Rusal share price halved after US sanctions

Deripaska, a billionaire who once had close ties to President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is one of seven oligarchs who were sanctioned as part of an effort to punish the Kremlin. "The situation is pretty egregious from the point of view of legality, it tramples on all kinds of norms, and so a thorough analysis is necessary", he said.

The Russian government was "doing everything possible to minimise negative consequences" of the U.S. measures, he added. Other magnates hit by sanctions include the director of state-owned energy giant Gazprom, Alexei Miller.

Russia's Moex stock market fell 7.6%, hitting funds exposed to the country.

The US imposed sanctions on Friday on the world's second-biggest aluminium producer, plus other companies, officials and oligarchs in response to what it described as "malign activity around the globe".

The company on Friday said that it regretted its inclusion on the new US sanctions list, adding that its advisors were studying the situation.

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En+ Group and Rusal both released statements on Monday that said "it is highly likely" that the sanctions would "be materially adverse" to their businesses. The state-controlled bank is seen as a barometer for the wider Russian economy. The Russian ruble has also sold off against the US Dollar and is down 3.5% so far.

Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group, added: "The sanctions make it nearly impossible for these Russian firms and their billionaire owners to transact in United States dollars, the main currency used in worldwide trade and the standard denomination for commodities".

Rusal and seven other companies linked to Deripaska were the main targets when the U.S. imposed sanctions created to punish Vladimir Putin's inner circle for "malign activity", including support for Bashar al-Assad's government in Syria and interfering with the USA election in 2016. Polymetal, a Russian miner listed in London, was the biggest FTSE 250 faller, down 18%.

The US Treasury said the sanctions were linked to Russia's actions in Crimea, Syria and Ukraine and its interference in western democracies.

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