Barclays Cuts Off Hedge Fund Agricultural Commodities Trading

Feb 14 2013 | 12:53pm ET

Hedge funds that rely on Barclays to trade agricultural commodities will have to find a new partner.

The bank said Tuesday that it would stop trading soft and agricultural commodities with hedge funds as part of an overhaul designed to repair its battered image.

Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins said that the bank would stop speculative trading in such commodities for "reputational reasons." A source at the bank told Reuters that by "speculative," Jenkins meant exclusively hedge funds.

Barclays will continue to sell index-linked soft commodity and agricultural products.

In ending trading with hedge funds, Barclays joins a very small group of banks. Groups who complain that speculation in agricultural commodities drives up food prices and hurts poor countries, but to little effect. Commerzbank restricts trading in agricultural products, but Deutsche Bank last month ended a trading moratorium on agricultural derivatives.

At least one agricultural trader has left the firm as part of the restructuring, which will include at least 3,700 job cuts.

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