Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bank of China sets up oil products trading desk in Singapore

A unit of Bank of China , one of China’s big-four state-owned banks, has started an oil products trading desk in Singapore, industry sources said on Thursday.

The team of three traders hired by the Bank of China International Holdings (BOCI) will be focused primarily on building customer flow business for fuel oil and light distillates, sources said.

The trading operations in Singapore, which kicked off two weeks ago will complement BOCI’s crude trading team based in Hong Kong, sources said.

“The plan for the moment is to focus on building customer flow business,” a source familiar with the operations said.

“There is a natural fit with Chinese customers looking for hedging products...they will be our first priority. For now, we don’t have plans to get into physical trading.” Besides tapping business from China’s top oil companies, the new team will look at servicing customers who run small and medium-sized business enterprises.

European and US banks have come under increasing regulatory pressure to limit risk taking in the wake of the global financial crisis leaving the door open for Asian banks to step in.

“Typically, these type of clients, like shipowners, a small power company...they won’t get a first look from a big bank,”the source said.

“But this team will be in a position to take on their business and give them an opportunity to get into the market.”

Publish date: 14/06/12

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