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Recruiting Trends for Bulk Commodities in 2022

​A look back at 2022

The agricultural and drybulk markets in 2022 performed strongly, in line with the general sentiment around the commodities industry being a hedge against rising inflation rates the world around.

Significant interest has flowed around this topic as the world continues to suffer from resource security concerns, supply volatility, the rising cost of financing, inflation, and an ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. These issues have remained in the headlights across the past year and will likely continue to do so into 2023, driving prices ever higher.

In agri commodities, across the past year and as identified, these issues have created a surge of demand from both suppliers and purchasers of food and feedstuff for experienced traders – individuals that, with their experience and networks across international trading networks, could help bridge the gap between global suppliers and end-users. More and more so, we see examples of traders being in demand as:

  1. Marketing representatives in Asia build brands and build demand directly on behalf of global suppliers (co-ops, elevators, farmers, etc.), or as

  2. Sourcing and procurement experts, able to leverage their experience to not only source product, but to apply their skills in risk management and trading.

Base and ferrous metals have been the quietest within the segment, with the majority of growth being from companies, and in particular those from China looking to expand overseas and set up regional offices; usually in Singapore. We have seen increased interest in battery metals, in particular nickel and lithium from our trading house clients, however given the gap in skillset between the traditional players and trading houses, we have seldom seem hires, with a preference being for base metals traders to learn a new product rather than battery metals individuals learning how to trade.

Coal on the other hand has seen a resurgence and as a knock-on effect of Ukrainian war and energy supply concerns, the “sunset” industry is once again back in the spotlight with a new demand for physical traders, particularly those with regional relationships such as India, Philippines, Thailand etc.

In the middle as always, trading companies have generally been able to perform strongly through leveraging their expertise and platform assets, with most being able to deliver a solid and rewarding performance for both their internal and external stakeholders. That said, the talent landscape has certainly been shaken up with close to 90% of commodity platforms recording some form of change across their front office line-ups.

The increased market volatility this year has caught the attention of hedge funds who have seen outside returns in this sector and thus it has been very in terms of hiring in this segment. The likes of Bluecrest, Millennium, Balyasny etc have all made high profile marquee hires and remain hungry for strong derivatives trading talent in Singapore, Hong Kong and globally, and thus for those traders with a decent track record looking for an attractive pay-out then there will be plenty of options to look at.

As we close towards the Lunar New Year of 2023 (which comes very close to the actual Calendar New Year), there will likely be a fresh slate of moves and strong interest across both sides of the market. Overall, the talent market remains very short and shallow across the physical agricultural sector with majority of existing candidates being relatively well remunerated and comfortable in their roles.

What we are working on

  • Ferroalloys Trader, Singapore

  • Indian Iron Ore Trader, Mumbai

  • Iron Ore Trader (paper/physical), Singapore

  • Trade Finance Distribution Manager, Singapore

  • Trade Finance Manager, Singapore

  • Oilseeds Trader, Guangzhou

  • Sugar Trader, Guangzhou

  • Palm Oil Broker (Lead), Singapore

  • Battery Metals Analyst, Singapore

  • Korean Speaking Desk Assistant, Singapore

  • Grains Trader, Singapore

  • Containerised Agricultural Commodity Trader, Singapore

  • Sugar Trader, Singapore

What people are talking about

Trafigura is said to be closing in on a $3billion - $4billion loan with the German government linked to the company supplying LNG to Germany as the nation steps up efforts to secure natural resources following the conflict in Ukraine.

Lula’s presidency in Brazil has caused swings in the share prices of state-controlled companies, inclusive of those in the natural resources sector. A knock-on effect is being felt in Singapore with those working in Brazilian companies being concerned around their future as a result.

Taiwanese shipping company Evergreen reportedly gives bonuses of up 52 months after posting strong profits, with the average being 10 - 45 months.

Korea Zinc and Trafigura are said to be in talks to build a nickel smelter as part of KZs expansion into batteries, recycling and renewable energy. Korea Zinc have also announced a $592million investment into green hydrogen and batteries through a partnership with LG Chem and Hanwa.

Commodity Traders and Producers are said to be setting their sights on lithium. With prices up 10 fold since 2020 we are seeing trading houses eyeing this market, and worlds largest producer Albemarle have said that the market will increase by 200,000 tonnes annually.

Market Moves

  • Joe Zhou has joined Suek Beijing as Head of Coal China, previously with Honours Commodities.

  • Wu Haitao has joined Suek Shanghai as a Coal Trader, previously with AVRA.

  • Yingjia Zhou has joined Rio Tinto in Singapore as an Analyst, previously with Louis Dreyfus.

  • Linda Tok has joined Bunge as a Marketing Manager, previously with Wilmar.

  • Aleksi Parkkila has joined ADNOC as Manager Carbon Business Origination, previously with Trafigura.

  • Kristiaan Beheils has joined SSOE in Dubai as CRO, previously with Epdesa.

  • Rafiq Durrani has joined Millennium as a Senior Portfolio Manager, previously with Shell

Alex Kerr
Director | Partner

+65 3165 0710

EA 18S9493 | R1328009

John O.jpg
John Ong
Associate Director

+65 3165 0710

EA 18S9493 | R1658515