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Commodity Firms Race To Hire Metal Traders

Amid booming demand for key metals in the energy transition, the world’s largest commodity traders, as well as some hedge funds, are racing to hire metals traders to capitalize on the demand for critical minerals, Reuters reported on Wednesday, quoting sources with direct knowledge of the hiring spree.

Trafigura, for example, became last year the first commodity trading company to establish a low-carbon aluminum trading desk and established a non-ferrous metals business development unit. During 2020, Trafigura’s non-ferrous Metals and Minerals department recorded its most successful performance, the trader said in its annual report. Last year was also the first full year after restructuring the department into four books: copper, zinc and lead, nickel and cobalt, and aluminum.

Now Trafigura has recently hired two copper traders from Glencore, a source told Reuters.

Gunvor has also expanded its derivatives trading in commodities, some of Reuters' sources said.

Hedge fund BlueCrest Capital Management has recently hired its first traders focused on metals.

“The war for metal trading talent in the current market is fierce,” Ross Gregory, a director at recruitment firm Proco Commodities, told Reuters.

The global push for an increased share of renewable sources in the energy mix, higher electric vehicle (EV) sales, and energy storage is set to boost demand for key minerals in the coming decades.

The growing demand for clean energy and transport electrification will need as much as $1 trillion in investment in lithium, nickel, cobalt, copper, and aluminum by 2035, according to Wood Mackenzie. In other words, the world will need nearly twice as much investment in critical energy-transition minerals over the next 15 years as it has invested over the past 15 years.

This year, the prices of copper and lithium, for example, have surged after the pandemic prompted many governments to commit to greener recovery, stoking demand for critical minerals.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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