Citigroup Inc. plans to expand its commodity team in Asia at a "double-digit" pace in a bid to capitalize on rising demand for raw materials as the global economic recovery boosts metals and energy prices.
The company, which has 22 commodity staff in Asia compared with three in 2005, plans to focus on new products in coal, gas, freight and emissions, said Ananth Doraswamy, regional head of commodities, in an interview from Singapore. "Because everybody is expanding in commodities, you want new blood."
Citi joins Societe Generale SA and Barclays PLC in beefing up commodity businesses as copper, oil and sugar have led a 12% jump this year in the Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index, which tracks commodity prices. The expansion of commodities trading boosted Citi revenue, Doraswamy said.
"In the next two years, it's going to be a commodities world," Ellison Chu, metals manager in Hong Hong for Standard Bank Asia Ltd., said Monday.