Global commodity traders including Glencore (LON: GLEN) and IXM have halted shipments to Chinese metals merchant Huludao Ruisheng after nearly half a billion dollars’ worth of copper went “missing” at a storage site in the country’s north.
Thirteen Chinese trading companies —12 of which are state-owned — were financing the storage site in Qinhuangdao, which was found to hold only one-third of the 300,000 tonnes of copper concentrate.
The firms are facing potential losses of as much as 3.3 billion yuan ($490 million) from the missing concentrate and have sent a team to Qinhuangdao to investigate and determine appropriate legal action, the Financial Times reported on Friday.
“It’s not the first time we’ve had the problem with material going missing in China,” Colin Hamilton, managing director of commodities research at BMO Capital Markets wrote. “Onshore financing in China for any foreign bank or trading house will become harder.”
Glencore transferred some of its existing metal stocks from Qinhuangdao to alternatives such as Qingdao in an effort to avoid similar problems, FT reported, citing a trader.
The source added that Western companies’ exposure to Huludao Ruisheng was limited.