Glencore says commodity demand slowing in China

15th June 2011

Ivan Glasenberg, chief executive, said high prices and the Chinese government's moves to curb inflation had dampened demand, says the Financial Times (paywall). However, he hopes any slowdown would be temporary.

"We see a pullback in China and it will continue," he said. "There are pullbacks in China from time to time when they see inflation is too high." In the US, he said that there had been a "slight slowing down".

This is despite a report in the BBC that says Glencore reported a sharp rise in profits and revenue thanks to strong demand for grain and oil in particular.

The company highlighted the performance of its oil division that saw "substantially improved results". It said both oil and grain sales were well ahead of the first quarter last year.

Net profit for the first three months of the year was $1.3bn (£800m), up 47% on the $886m the company made a year earlier. Revenue was up 39% to $44.2bn.

The Financial Times (paywall) says that Glencore has a privileged view of commodities markets as it controls a large share of trading of industrial raw materials from copper to oil and its reach can allow it to anticipate changes in the cycle. But until now, Glencore has rarely made public statements of its views on the direction of commodity prices and demand.

The warning on the outlook for commodities alongside a downbeat response from investors to the first-quarter results, sent Glencore's shares tumbling to 500p, the lowest since its initial public offering last month.

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