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Trading Giant Books Record Profit During Oil Crisis

Commodity trading giant Trafigura reported a 27-percent increase in its net profit for the first half of its financial year, to March 31, citing strong physical trade in crude oil.

Commenting on its results, the company said that “They show a strong performance by both trading divisions driven by significant volatility and dislocations in the global market, which make the physical trading and risk management activities of specialist companies such as Trafigura more relevant than ever.”

Thanks to its strong position in an industry in turmoil, Trafigura noted its first-half net result was the best six-month result on record.

The commodity major is also well position to benefit from the beginning improvement in oil demand. In late May, Reuters reported Trafigura had establishes a dominant trading position in North Sea oil, chartering 14 cargoes of local crude oil blends, benefiting from the fast and sharp change in prices driven by the OPEC+ cuts and still cheap freight rates.

Besides oil trading, Trafigura also benefited from the new International Maritime Organisation’s emission rules that came into effect in January.

“The Shipping and Chartering business also delivered a very strong performance having positioned itself strategically with an increased fleet and a sizeable equity position to benefit from the expected IMO 2020 market disruption, which did materialize,” Trafigura said.

“Disruptions caused by OFAC sanctions that removed available VLCC tonnage and the deep contango market arising from COVID-19 oil demand drop supported freight rates and further enhanced the performance.”

Yet not all may be rosy for the company. Last month The Guardian reported, without citing sources, that Trafigura was being investigated by the U.S. Commodities and Futures Trading Commission on allegations of corruption and market manipulation in crude oil trading.

According to the unconfirmed report, the CFTC had issued subpoenas to a group of people with the order to hand over all information they have regarding the company’s activities for the last four years at least that may suggest “manipulation and corruption involving oil products and trading”.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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