Glencore 'not culprit behind price rises'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 May, 2011, 12:00am


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Giant commodities trader Glencore does not cause hunger, claims Vidhan K Goyal, professor of finance at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology's Business School.

The company, which launches the sale of its shares in Hong Kong and London today, has been criticised because of its influence on food and other commodities.

Goyal said: 'There is no way that Glencore is able to dictate wheat's price unless it physically holds onto a huge amount of wheat, but there is no evidence for that.'

Although wheat prices had risen in the past, the placing of bets by traders on the possible increase in prices would not have an affect on the long-term price, he said.

Supply and demand were the main factors influencing long-term food prices. A rise in demand for food from fast-developing nations, such as India and China, and poor crop harvests also pushed up prices, Goyal added.

Today's public listing of the shares meant Glencore faced tighter regulations and would have to be more transparent in the way it runs its business in future. 'It will be harder for them to profit out of other people's hunger,' he said.

Analyst Luk Yu-yan said stock market trends suggested the commodities boom might be ending soon. The dot-com bubble had burst 10 months after investment bank Goldman Sachs' listing in 1999. And the 2007 financial crisis took place not long after investment giant Black Stone went public in July that year.

'Glencore may be predicting the bull market in commodities is coming to an end and so is looking for cash by going public,' Luk said.