Tyler Durden: Copper prices are surging this morning (in the face of Goldman’s recent warnings of a plunge), jumping 4 handles apparently on the heels of a WSJ story in which LME admits that a single buyer has snapped up more than half the copper held in London Metal Exchange warehouses, giving it control over a crucial source of supply and raising concerns among traders about the potential for higher prices.
What is more remarkable is, as WSJ reports, on several occasions in the last month, this buyer held as much as 90% of the world’s copper stored in LME-licensed warehouses.
Though no confirmation has been given traders suggest the firm cornering the copper market is Red Kite Group, a London hedge-fund manager that focuses on metals trading.
A single firm has owned at least 50% of the copper in LME-licensed warehouses for much of the last four months. Accumulating such a dominant position became easier in June because the amount of metal under the exchange’s watch had plummeted, as had prices. The warehouses have held less than 160,000 tons of copper since mid-June, compared with more than 360,000 tons at the start of the year. Some analysts say copper production is running behind demand, forcing some users to draw on stockpiles in LME-licensed warehouses.
On several occasions in the last month, this buyer held as much as 90% of the world’s copper stored in LME-licensed warehouses, equal to about 140,000 tons, or enough to make the copper parts of the Statue of Liberty more than 1,700 times. As of Wednesday, the buyer owned between 50% and 80% of copper held in warehouses, according to the most recent exchange data.
Rumors are that it is Red Kite.
Established in 2004, Red Kite is now run by two of its founding partners, Michael Farmer and David Lilley, both alumni of the German industrial conglomerate Metallgesellschaft AG, which collapsed in 1993. The fund is known for its bold and extremely profitable trades involving copper, as well as other metals. Red Kite Group manages $2.3 billion, according to its website.
Red Kite declined to comment.
The London Metal Exchange, owned by Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. ,