(Bloomberg) — In Chinese commodity circles, he’s known as “big shot” — the man who controls the world’s largest nickel producer and isn’t afraid to place big derivatives bets on where prices are headed next.
Now Xiang Guangda has emerged at the center of a market drama that’s fueling some of the largest price swings in years for a key ingredient in the fight against climate change.
On one side is Xiang and several of his Chinese peers, who’ve amassed short positions in nickel derivatives to hedge their production against the risk of falling prices, according to people familiar with the matter. On the other is an unidentified nickel stockpiler, who controlled at least half of the inventories on the London Metal Exchange as of Feb. 9.
As speculation swirls about the mystery stockpiler’s identity, Xiang finds himself in an unusual position: on the losing side of a trade. Nickel has surged more than 25% over the past year, touching the highest level in a decade last month.
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