Commodities trading company Trafigura says there’s been a “sea-change” in investor attitudes in the commodities sector.
In other words, investors are feeling negative and many are fleeing commodity-focused hedge funds.
A number of hedge funds that specialize in trading commodities have suffered in 2015 as asset prices have plunged. The S&P GSCI commodity index, which is made up of the most liquid commodity futures, has fallen more than 46% in the last 12 months.
There have also been a string of hedge fund closures in the sector in recent months.
Trafigura’s annual report estimates that assets under management in the top ten commodities funds have fallen by 80% since 2008.
Duncan Letchford, the CEO Galena Asset Management, a subsidiary of Trafigura, writes:
“Overall 2015 was a difficult year for commodity-related hedge funds. Commodities were in a bear market, with prices of oil, precious metals and industrial metals and minerals showing structural weakness almost across the board. In addition to year witnessed the closure or withdrawal from the market of a number of notable hedge funds and more generally of the banks’ proprietary trading arms. As a consequence the market became noticeably less liquid and more difficult to trade.
“In effect, we have seen a sea-change in investor attitudes. From the mid-2000’s onwards, commodities came to be seen increasingly widely as an investable asset class. This perception has now largely unwound, to be replaced by a [generalized] aversion on the part of institutional investors towards the segment as a whole. We estimate that the total assets under management (AUM) in the top 10 commodity funds globally have fallen from more than USD50 billion in 2008 to less than USD10 billion today.”
Galena wasn’t immune either. Trafigura decided last month that it would wind down the Galena Metals Fund.
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