Thursday, June 19, 2014

"Hivemind: Where Have I Misplaced My 123,446 Metric Tons of Alumina?"

Via Paul Hodges and the Wall Street Journal, a Chinese commodities trading firm is having a little trouble recently:
BEIJING—The state-owned Citic Resources Holdings Ltd.  said about half of the alumina stockpiles it had stored at China's Qingdao port couldn't be located, heightening concerns over the use of commodities for financing in the country. 
Citic Resources, a mining and trading company, said this month that it had applied to a court in Qingdao, a port on China's eastern coast, for help in securing metals it owns in warehouses. Citic Resources' parent is Citic Group, one of China's largest state-owned companies and a big financial concern. 
Citic Resources, in a statement released Wednesday to the Hong Kong stock exchange, said the court couldn't locate 123,446 metric tons of alumina, a mineral used to produce aluminum. Citic Resources said it stored 223,270 tons of alumina and 7,486 tons of copper at the port that was awaiting delivery to buyers. The company said it would now conduct its own investigation into the missing commodities. At current market prices, the missing alumina is worth about $50 million. 
Qingdao courts didn't respond to calls for comment. 
The statement came as Western and Chinese lenders are looking into suspected fraud in China involving metals that were used as collateral. Banks have lent hundreds of millions of dollars to Chinese commodities traders in recent years, using commodities such as copper, iron ore and aluminum as collateral. 
Western lenders say they are trying to determine whether metals stored at Qingdao port as collateral against loans were illegally pledged by a Chinese trading firm to more than one lender to obtain multiple loans....
That's a lot of missing alumina. That said, it's all relative. If you take a Great Lakes freighter as an example, it seems that it's only the capacity of 1.5 shipments.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down...


  1. Rounding error? Half a ton here, half a ton there, next thing you know you're missing 123,000 tons! gr

  2. Never had much success with alumina columns – perhaps when they find this stuff, it will have a load of my compounds stuck to it.

  3. Should try reading to keep up with how important this actually is. It is not just alumina, but also iron, copper and other commodities. Worth learning the word -- rehypothecation -- and what that entails.

    1. Making loans without any collateral backing it up? Hmmm, where have I seen this before?