Commodities: How Swiss traders profit from the war

Commodities: How Swiss traders profit from the war

The headquarters of Swiss commodities trading giant Glencore in Baar (Switzerland), on November 13, 2020. The headquarters of Swiss commodities trading giant Glencore, in Baar (Switzerland), November 13, 2020. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

war profiteer? Trading company Trafigura posted a profit of $7 billion in fiscal 2022, double its previous record in 2021. Covid-19, war in Ukraine… The more the planet blames the blow , the more dealers ( the negotiators) cash.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers War in Ukraine: oil, wheat, rapeseed, aluminium, nickel… the prices of certain commodities are soaring

A paradox that hardly moves the Australian Jeremy Weir, since 2014 boss of this company, which is one of the most important brokers and charterers of black gold on the planet and whose trading activities are based in Geneva. “We have once again weathered extreme market volatility across a wide range of commodities and delivered excellent results regardless of market conditions,” he said.

In the less managerial language of the Swiss NGO Public Eye, which published a report on Thursday, January 19th on Switzerland’s ultra-lucrative commodities trading business, the finding doesn’t strike the same note. “With the food and energy security of millions of people around the world at serious risk due to rising food and commodity prices, traders are making record profits by exploiting market disruptions,” Long says.

Flowing growth

Like its competitor Trafigura, the Vitol group, world number one in oil trading, has already broken its own ceiling with a profit of $4.5 billion in the first six months of 2022 compared to $4.2 billion in the twelve months of 2021. The Gunvor company is announcing for its part the first In the first half of 2022, the profit has quadrupled compared to the first half of 2021.

It was co-founded by Russian oligarch Gennady Timtchenko, a close friend of Vladimir Putin, who is on all Western sanctions lists and has long been a generous supporter of good Geneva society through Neva, his wife’s philanthropic foundation. The man had officially sold his stake in Gunvor to his Swedish business partner Torbjörn Törnqvist shortly after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in spring 2014.

However, one commodity giant crushes all others: Glencore (oil, gas, coal, minerals, metals, etc.). According to the Financial Times, the group based in Baar, in the mild tax climate of the small German-speaking canton of Zug (central Switzerland), is “one of the biggest winners from the upheavals caused by the war in Ukraine markets commodities”. Profit soared 846% year over year to $12 billion in the first half of 2022.

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