Business|Financial|Iron Ore
Business|Financial|Iron Ore

Goldman commodities research chief Jeff Currie set to leave bank

Jeffrey Currie

Jeffrey Currie

7th August 2023

By: Bloomberg


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Jeff Currie, the prominent commodities analyst known for making bold — often bullish — pronouncements, is leaving Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Currie has been the face of the Wall Street titan’s commodities research for the better part of three decades, commanding attention in that market with a willingness to stick his neck out on calls, with mixed success.

Goldman announced his departure in a memo to staff on Monday.

Currie rose to fame after correctly predicting the China-driven boom of the 2000s and that decade’s surge in oil prices. He has had less luck repeating the feat after outlining reasons for another supercycle that could last a decade.

Rather than a sustained increase, prices have gyrated. “We have never been this wrong for this long without seeing evidence to change our views,” the 56-year-old said on Bloomberg Television in June shortly before trimming an oil-price forecast.

Over 27 years at Goldman, his standing in the market grew into a recognizable brand. The commodities unit leveraged that to drum up more business.

“He’s a little bit of a mad scientist,” said longtime Goldman colleague Colleen Foster, describing him as creative, eccentric and inventive. “There’s never a time I couldn’t get a meeting with a CEO, an oil minister or a hedge fund founder, if Jeff Currie was with me.”

An avid skier, Currie taught courses at the University of Chicago before joining Goldman in 1996. He and another top Goldman commodities executive were among a group that financed an effort to produce a 2010 documentary on the British rock band The Kinks.

After Currie caught the market’s attention with his prescience on oil’s surge to triple digits in the 2000s, his Goldman team famously doubled down in May 2008. That was despite signs of trouble that spiraled into the financial crisis, sending oil crashing more than 75% in less than six months to below $35 a barrel. To be sure, he correctly predicted that oil would reach about $85 by the end of 2009.

He hasn’t always been a bull. In 2015, he estimated oil would likely stay low for the next 15 years.

No matter what, Currie’s views are always closely followed in the market — including by company executives whose fortunes ride the ups and downs of commodity prices.

His predictions sometimes fueled frustration, Cleveland-Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves recalled in 2019.

“I have been critical of the Goldman Sachs commodity desk for years,” Goncalves said at the time. But after realizing they were finally in agreement on iron-ore, “I was ready to give love to Jeff Currie. The first time in probably 10 years that the Goldman Sachs forecast for iron-ore pretty much matched mine.”

Edited by Bloomberg


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