Astenbeck, BlueGold, Man AHL Among Victims Of Oil Swoon

May 10 2011 | 2:07pm ET

Clive Capital isn't the only hedge fund feeling the pain after last week's oil rout; it isn’t even feeling the most pain.

Several other big names in the commodity hedge fund industry took a beating as oil prices plummeted almost 13% last week. Clive's $5 billion fund lost 8.9% on the week, but that's only good enough for fourth place in the "worst week" sweepstakes.

Astenbeck Capital Management's Astenbeck Commodities Fund II lost 12%. According to Reuters, the sudden drop in oil prices wiped out the $2.6 billion fund's gains for the year, although The Wall Street Journal reports that the fund was up 18.2% through April.

BlueGold Capital Management also suffered double-digit losses last week. And Transtrend, a $6 billion Dutch commodities fund, lost between 9% and 9.5%, or more than $500 million, in what the firm called "a very bad week."

The world's largest hedge fund firm also took a big hit: The Man Group's AHL strategy lost 5.3% on the week, wiping out the 4% it gain in April.

"After a very strong month in April, where Man AHL Diversified PLC returned 4.1% net of fees, the first calendar week of May saw a number of reversals occur simultaneously across a broad range of markets in response to renewed global economic recovery concerns," fund manager Michael De Groot told MarketWatch. "Short U.S. dollar positions, long commodity and equity positions hurt performance. On the positive side, long bond and interest rate positions helped offset some of these losses."

Astenbeck's Andrew Hall also has to deal with egg on his face: The former star Citigroup energy trader told investors in a letter last Monday that he disagrees with the "pundits" who "have postulated that the rise in oil prices is sowing the seeds of its own demise."

"Higher oil prices are not an aberration but part of a—to use a cliché—new normal," he wrote, adding, "there is no way that oil supply capacity can match this rate of increase for a substantial period."

Of course, Hall can also point to the fact that Astenbeck lost 10% last May and still managed to finish the year up 12%. And that oil recovered about half of its losses yesterday.


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