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Aurex Insights: APAC Bulk – Oct 2021

​Welcome to Aurex Group's Asia monthly snapshot for metals and bulks commodities where we highlight some of the factors and events influencing the industry for businesses and talent. In this issue, our specialist discusses an insight into the current coal landscape given a resurgence in hiring activity. We also take a look at developing hiring trends and recent talent movement across the metals and bulks community.

What people are talking about

After 18 months, brokers and traders have finally returned to the LME’s iconic ring to trade this month. The pandemic has proved to be the biggest threat to the Ring’s existence, more than previous world wars, bankruptcies, trading scandals as well as the huge shift to electronic trading. Is bringing back the Ring sustainable in the current climate and will the quality of the official prices be held?

Non-Ferrous metals such as aluminium, copper, nickel, and silicon are electricity-intensive metals to produce at smelters. With rising power costs, European metal producers, such as Nyrstar are looking to relocate their smelters outside Europe to save costs. What will this mean for the industry and people working in this industry in Europe?

A proposed merger between the rare earth minerals operations of Minmetals, Chinalco, and the Ganzhou government will create China’s second-largest, rare-earth producer, falling shortly behind China Northern Rare Earth Group. Rare earth minerals, while abundant in volume are notoriously difficult and complex to extract and process. These minerals are becoming increasingly important in green technology developments. Will this consolidation give the Chinese an even bigger edge in the global market where they are already currently responsible for 80% of rare earth imports?

Ganfeng Lithium, the world’s biggest lithium company, is slated to invest $30 million SGD in purchasing nickel ore from Silkroad Nickel Ltd, a Singapore-listed company, which is closely tied to an Indonesian miner. If this investment is successful, will Ganfeng become one of the many Chinese companies that have successfully entered the Indonesian nickel market?

Puma Energy has appointed Hadi Hallouche as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Carlos Pon as the new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Hallouche will remain Trafigura’s Co-Head of Oil trading as well as continue to stay on the board of directors. Pons will leave his investment role at Trafigura to take on the CFO position. How will this new leadership impact Puma Energy’s progress into 2022?

What we are currently working on

  • Global Head of Risk, Dubai

  • Quant Manager, Shanghai

  • Sulphur Trader, Europe/ Dubai

  • Coal Trader, China

  • Coal Trader, India

  • Coal Trader, Indonesia

  • Agri Traders, Dubai

  • Cementitious Products Trader, Singapore

  • Alternative Fuels Trader, Singapore

  • Iron Ore Sales, Singapore

If you are interested in any of these roles, please reach out to us via the contact details at the end of this newsletter. 

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Coal

​President Xi Jinping’s recent declaration to end coal projects abroad implied that $50 billion USD worth of investment overseas in related projects will come to a standstill. China remains the world’s biggest consumer of coal and the global green shift has put significant pressure on the country to reduce its reliance on coal. In addition to stopping overseas coal-related projects, China has pledged to help other developing countries to reduce reliance on this product. Though noble and for the greater good, one can’t help but question how realistic these promises are to enforce.

India, on the other hand, comes across as more practical, sans such grandiose gestures. India cannot live without coal. While the country acknowledges that there needs to be a proper strategy to transition from coal to cleaner energy, mines are unlikely to be immediately phased out because of global pressure to reduce emissions. If coal production halts, the livelihoods of several Indians will be in jeopardy. The general sentiment of – why should Indians be asked to reduce carbon emissions, when the West did this for years and profited off the very product, they label dirty now- remains strong.

Like India, several other developing countries do not have the luxury of harnessing green technology, which is highly capital intensive. While some nations are making strides to reduce reliance on coal, a coal-free future seems unrealistic at this point. With coal production and hence supply being reduced and demand not following suit, coal prices have tripled this year. The market for coal is ironically becoming more robust despite efforts to cull consumption and production.

At Aurex Group, we are seeing an increase in trading and sales roles that are related to coal, especially thermal coal. These roles are mainly based in countries such as China, India, and Indonesia. Hiring in this space is likely to increase towards the end of the quarter and will continue into the first quarter of 2022. Clients who wish to hire as well as candidates with relevant experience in this market are encouraged to get in touch with us for more discussions.​

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Market Moves​

  • Freda Shen has joined ING in Shanghai as Head of Commodities, Food and Agribusinesses China, Previously with Noble Group.

  • Joe Zhou has joined Honours Commodities / Sibang as a Senior Coal Trader, formerly Head of Coal China at Glencore.

  • Ray Lee has joined Welhunt in Korea as a Coal Trader, previously in a similar role at Flame.

  • Tim Gazzard, Executive Director at Noble Group has left the company alongside Director Louis Fel.

  • Chen Longfei has joined Trafigura in Shanghai as a Metals Trader, previously with Cargill.

  • Jen Feng has joined EP Resources as a Senior Bulk Commodity Trader China, previously a Trader at Tailai Coal.

  • JP Couture has joined Macquarie as Vice President for Commodities and Global markets, previously Head of Origination from Incomeland, in Singapore.

  • Chew Gek Goh has joined Rio Tinto as Head of Risk – Commercial, previously Head of Risk and Finance Director at Cargill.

  • Wang Mengfei has joined Shell in Singapore as a Carbon Structurer, previously in the STF team at ABN AMRO.

  • Jack Lim has joined Nanjing Steel as a Bulk Commodities Trading Manager, previously a Bulk Commodities Trader at Zhejiang Materials, in Singapore.

  • Amy Bing Wu has joined ICBC Standard Bank as a Metal Sales Trader, previously in a similar role with Guanfa Futures, based in Hong Kong.

  • Alex Liu has joined Deutsche Bank’s Natural Resources Finance team, previously from the STF and Commodity Finance team at SMBC, in Hong Kong.

I hope you enjoy our latest market insight for metals and bulks commodities. For a discussion around recent mandates, compensation, or other hiring trends, please do not hesitate to get in touch. 

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Alex Kerr
Director

Aurex Singapore Pte Ltd

alex@aurexgroup.com | +65 9007 2185

12 Marina View, #11-01 Asia Square Tower 2, Singapore 018961

EA 18S9493 | R1328009