MOVES-Commodity firm MRI hires ex-Trafigura naphtha trader

SINGAPORE/SEOUL, June 26 Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:49am EDT

SINGAPORE/SEOUL, June 26 (Reuters) - Commodities firm MRI Trading, majority owned by Singapore-listed logistics provider CWT, has hired at least one ex-Trafigura naphtha veteran at its Singapore firm, five traders said on Tuesday.

Swiss-based MRI is a key trader of metals and minerals and has recently diversified into energy products, including thermal coal and petroleum products.

Japanese Yosuke Tokuhashi, with more than 10 years of naphtha trading experience, has already started work at its Singapore office.

Three traders said ex-Trafigura naphtha South Korean trader Jerry Ju may join MRI at the start of next month but will be based in Seoul.

CWT did not reply to Reuters' email queries. CWT acquired 73.81 percent stakes in MRI Trading, a wholly owned subsidiary of Capsolon Pte Ltd.

Capsolon is owned by CWT and is the latter's commodity supply chain management business arm.

Tokuhashi, Ju and another ex-Trafigura naphtha trader, South Korean but Singapore-based Jason Lee, left Trafigura more than three months ago.

It was not clear if Lee would be joining MRI, but as a general rule of thumb, traders are not to trade the same product for a period of about three months after they leave a company.

In the last four to five years, expansions or new set-ups within the energy sector were made mostly in the naphtha sector.

Between 2008 and 2012, at least 8 firms have either expanded or started naphtha operations in Singapore. These include Mercuria, Mabanaft, Noble, ConocoPhillips, Arcadia, Unipec and most recently Socar Trading, a unit of Azerbaijan's state oil firm.

Unipec, the trading arm of top Asian refiner Sinopec Corp , has been the most prominent among the new firms in terms of physical naphtha trades. (Reporting by Seng Li Peng and Cho Meeyoung; editing by James Jukwey)

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