Another Bank Narrows Its Presence in Commodity Trade Finance

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Tuesday January 19, 2021

Netherlands-based Rabobank has joined the club of lenders backing off from commodity trade finance, in what may herald tighter access to credit for the bunker industry.

Rabobank plans to streamline its trade and commodity finance offering by closing terminating this activity in its London, Shanghai and Sydney offices, Global Trade Review reported Tuesday, citing a letter from the bank to its clients.

The move has been "accelerated by rapidly changing global markets due to the Covid pandemic, trade wars and changing banking landscape," the publication cited Rabobank as saying.

"In addition, significant fraud and default cases in our line of business, have forced us to carefully review our organisation."

The decision is the latest in a series of similar moves from banks over the past year.

In August it was reported that ABN Amro planned to exit commodity trade finance entirely. This followed the news earlier that month that France's BNP Paribas had put a hold on all new commodity trade finance deals, and that Societe Generale had closed its commodity trade finance unit in Singapore.

And in October Swiss bank UBS said it had lost almost $60 million in a commodity trade finance fraud case.

Fraud cases like that of Hin Leong and GP Global, as well as the earlier demise of Inter-Pacific Petroleum, have left banks increasingly wary of lending to commodity traders and the bunker industry.