Global commodity trading profits topped $100bn for second-best year ever

18th March 2024

By: Bloomberg


Font size: - +

The commodity trading industry reaped its second-best year ever in terms of profits, banking over $100-billion and building up a mountain of cash to spend on assets and breaking into new markets.

While earnings fell from 2022’s blockbuster records, profits across the sector still easily eclipsed prior highlights such as in 2008-2009, according to analysis from consultancy Oliver Wyman.

“We saw pretty good margins overall and that is practically because things continue to be a little bit tight on the supply-demand side,” consultant Adam Perkins said in an interview.

Results for many players across the industry are not yet public, but profits at the biggest independent trading houses are expected to show an average drop of over 30% from 2022’s record levels, the report shows.

Still, disruptions and supply shortages of diesel and fuel oil offset lower Russia-related volatility in crude oil, while margins trading gas and power also remained relatively high.

The firms that buy, store and ship the world’s resources are coming out of what was the most profitable period in their history with a huge war chest to cement their role as strategic providers of energy, metals and food as the West continues a stuttering transition away from fossil fuels — demand for which continues to grow the world over.

They’ve already bought oil refineries, storage assets, power plants, and even other trading companies, while receiving large amounts of backing from countries like Italy, Germany, the US and Saudi Arabia to guarantee supplies of essential commodities like gas and copper.

“Traditionally this position in energy security wouldn’t have been held by an independent trader,” Perkins said, but they’re being “drawn into that role.”

Meanwhile, through share buybacks and dividend pay-outs, the executives who own shares or are partners in these mostly private companies, have also become multi-millionaires in the process. That’s helping accelerate a shift at the top of some of these firms’ as minted traders retire, passing management on to a new guard.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for those people who are coming in, it’s also a little bit nerve wracking – there’s an increased amount of scrutiny – everyone wants to continue the legacy,” said Perkins.

Edited by Bloomberg



VEGA Controls SA (Pty) Ltd
VEGA Controls SA (Pty) Ltd

For over 60 years, VEGA has provided industry-leading products for the measurement of level, density, weight and pressure. As the inventor of the...

Weir Minerals Africa and Middle East
Weir Minerals Africa and Middle East

Weir Minerals Europe, Middle East and Africa is a global supplier of excellent minerals solutions, including pumps, valves, hydrocyclones,...


Latest Multimedia

sponsored by

Photo of Martin Creamer
On-The-Air (12/04/2024)
12th April 2024 By: Martin Creamer

Option 1 (equivalent of R125 a month):

Receive a weekly copy of Creamer Media's Engineering News & Mining Weekly magazine
(print copy for those in South Africa and e-magazine for those outside of South Africa)
Receive daily email newsletters
Access to full search results
Access archive of magazine back copies
Access to Projects in Progress
Access to ONE Research Report of your choice in PDF format

Option 2 (equivalent of R375 a month):

All benefits from Option 1
Access to Creamer Media's Research Channel Africa for ALL Research Reports, in PDF format, on various industrial and mining sectors including Electricity; Water; Energy Transition; Hydrogen; Roads, Rail and Ports; Coal; Gold; Platinum; Battery Metals; etc.

Already a subscriber?

Forgotten your password?







sq:0.455 0.494s - 91pq - 2rq
1: United States
Subscribe Now
2: United States