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Oligarch says metal firm faces hard times

OLEG Deripaska, the biggest shareholder of the world's largest aluminum producer, said he expects "no more happy times" in the industry as a sluggish global economy saps demand.

Deripaska, whose stake in United Co Rusal makes him Russia's richest man, predicted aluminum will average US$1,600 per ton in the next seven years, compared with a current level of US$1,349. That contradicts a forecast by Viktor Vekselberg, Rusal's chairman, who said he's "100 percent sure" the price will reach US$2,000 a ton this year, Bloomberg News reported.

"What's important at the moment for the metals and mining industry is to really stop hoping and prepare for the worst," Deripaska, Rusal's chief executive officer, told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on Saturday.

Russia's economy will contract by 0.2 percent this year, the government says.


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