Marc Rich, father of modern oil trading and founder of the group that became Glencore Xstrata, has died at the age of 78, the head of his philanthropic foundation said on Wednesday.
Many of the biggest players in oil and metals trading trace their roots back to Rich, whose triumph in the 1960s and 70s was to create a spot market for oil, wresting business away from the world’s big oil companies.
Rich, however, was also a controversial figure. He was forced to flee the United States for Switzerland in 1983 after allegedly taking advantage of the 1980 U.S. embargo against Iran to make huge profits in illicit Iranian oil sale.
“Marc Rich passed away this morning at his home in Lucerne. He will be brought to Israel for burial,” Avner Azulay, managing director of Marc Rich Foundation, said by telephone. (more…)
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For Saudi Arabia, it is a philosophical issue that the black gold pouring out of its deserts should be treated as a tangible, physical commodity – not the paper plaything of traders on Wall Street hedging against the weak dollar. This thinking is at the heart of the Middle Eastern country’s decision last week to abandon its long alliance with West Texas Intermediate crude – the famous oil used by most global producers to price their exports to the US.
It is both a technical issue and a symbolic shift that strikes a blow to the domin-ance of the New York Mercan-tile Exchange, the world’s biggest centre of oil trading where the most popular products relate to WTI crude. (more…)