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Aurex Insights: APAC Bulk – Jul 2022

In the July issue of Aurex Insights: Bulk APAC, our team looks into the changing landscape for supply chain security and upstream investments. As always, you will find the latest news and events influencing the industry for business and talent, as well as this month's market moves and current employment opportunities.

What people are talking about

Sanctions and capital flows have made it increasingly challenging for Russian firms traditionally based out of Switzerland and London to do business and thus we have seen energy and commodity announce relocations of their corporate offices to the UAE. Traditionally a region short on bulks and metals talent, we are now seeing a demand for those open to be relocated with the resulting compensation that goes with it.

Food security concerns and supply chain difficulties resulting from the Ukrainian conflict are increasingly at the forefront of many agricultural traders and producers as multiple nations halt exports in favour of their domestic markets. Prices of downstream consumer foodstuffs have been significantly affected as the prices of rice, corn, and wheat rise.

Within Metals, supply chain issues have also led to rising prices, as a result of which, a growing amount of attention is being paid to the recycling/scrap industry across both ferrous (particularly steel) and non-ferrous (particularly the EV segment) products.

For Shipping, there has been a noted ongoing drive towards expansion in Dubai due to multiple geopolitical factors including a conspicuous inflow of foreign assets and a more convenient timezone with which to access both Western and Eastern markets.

What we are currently working on

  • European Thermal Coal Sales/Marketer, Singapore/Europe

  • Thermal Coal Trading Manager, Singapore

  • Aluminium Trader, Singapore

  • Carbon Originator, Singapore

  • Head of Petcoke Trading, Singapore

  • Steel Derivatives Trader, 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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Changing landscape: Focus on supply chain security and upstream investments

In recent times, we have seen how over-dependence on one country or supplier has brought about major consequences, especially if that supplier is unable to deliver promised goods. Further, an overnight attempt to transition this dependence onto alternative sources has not particularly seen success.

To alleviate this problem, however, certain interesting ties ups and partnerships have happened in the commodities space. Tesla has signed a long-term contract with Brazilian miner Vale to buy nickel from its mines in Canada. Vale is the world’s number 1 producer of nickel, followed by Norilsk Nickel and Jinchuan Group. The move to sign with Vale highlights Tesla’s desire to diversify and reduce reliance on its Chinese and Russian suppliers. Last year, Tesla signed to buy nickel from a nickel mine part-owned by Rio Tinto in the USA and from BHP’s Nickel West asset in Australia. Nickel West also has the first nickel sulphate plant that will produce enough premium nickel sulphate to make 700,000 electric vehicle batteries annually, once fully operational.

We have also seen the trading house, Trafigura investing upstream with Green Lithium to build a-

lithium plant in England. This upstream investment will help the trading house have better control over the quality and supply of its battery-grade metals portfolio. This would translate into more sturdy, long-term profits.

So, what does this all mean for the hiring scene going forward? The possibility of trading houses expanding their hard assets might fuel a demand for talent that is focused on the upstream side of the business. Miners may re-look at their own customer portfolio and require experts who can understand perhaps even retailers and customers. Commercial organizations and trading firms may start hiring more technical staff and this is an area, many may not have the expertise in. This will largely be an education process for clients and candidates in this space, given changes in mindset and how success is measured.

We at Aurex Group welcome any discussions from clients who are looking for advice to assist with talent acquisition plans in this domain. Further, our consultants are also well equipped to counsel candidates who wish to move into more commercial environments.

New Joiner in Aurex Bulks and Metals team

Finally, we would like to welcome to our team, John Ong! John has recently joined Aurex Group in Singapore as an Associate Director within the Natural Resources & Commodities team.

John will be supporting clients and candidates across the Agriculture, Metals, and Shipping industries, handling senior front office appointments. He brings extensive knowledge and relationships from across the market and bolsters the capability of the global Dry Bulk team at Aurex Group.

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Market Moves

  • Greg Kang has joined Caravel in Singapore as SVP – Freight Trading, previously Shipping Strategy and FFA Trading Manager at Vale.

  • Helen Ding has joined ICBC Standard Bank as Manager, Physical Commodities in Shanghai, previously Concentrate Operations Manager at Cliveden Shanghai.

  • Patrick Dong Chao has joined Holcim as a Trading Manager, previously a Coal Trader at Sinopec.

  • Amanda Li has joined IMI as a Coal Trader, previously with Global Coal.

  • Srinivas Thangirala has joined PSG Corporation in Thailand, previously a Senior Trader at Cemcoa.

  • David Finnimore has retired as Head of Precious Metals Trading at Macquarie in Sydney.

  • Cathy Kang has joined ECTP as Global Coal Analyst, previously with RWE in Beijing.

  • Kevin Song has joined Trafigura as a Metals Trader, previously Head of Base Metals Trading at ThyssenKrupp.

  • Ng Tze Hou, previously Senior Trader for Corn at Cargill,has joined Sucen in Singapore.

  • Joshua Koh has joined Bunge as a Marketing Manager, previously a Junior Trader at Louis Dreyfus.

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