Aluminum Stash Visible From Space Turned to Gold for Trader – by Jack Farchy, Andy Hoffman and Mark Burton (Bloomberg News – April 20, 2018)

(Bloomberg) — Two years ago, a commodity trading house started stockpiling thousands of tons of aluminum near a bend in the Mississippi River outside New Orleans.

Now Castleton Commodities International LLC, the trader backed by hedge fund luminaries including Paul Tudor Jones, is sitting on a veritable gold mine as a scramble for aluminum unfolds in the wake of U.S. sanctions against United Co. Rusal and Donald Trump’s aluminum tariffs.

Castleton has started selling down its aluminum stash, which at its peak held about 500,000 metric tons of the metal, according to people familiar with the matter. That would be worth about $1.5 billion at today’s prices.

Sales for around half of that volume have already been agreed, and the trading house is making regular shipments out of the facility in Braithwaite, Louisiana, one of the people said, asking not to be named discussing private matters. Among the buyers: Glencore Plc, the top buyer of Rusal’s aluminum, which has been forced to scramble to cover its obligations to supply customers after the sanctions on the Russian company.

Glencore and Castleton declined to comment. The stash of aluminum is so sizable satellites can see it: images from Google Earth show an area near the Mississippi River where metal is stacked in neat piles in the open air.

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