Is Physical commodity trading a desk job or do traders still travel a lot?

Hi I am interested in starting my career in the physical commodity trading sector however I am wondering what the nature of the work is like. At firms like Trafigura/Vitol/Cargill/Bunge/Glencore, will the job be done behind a computer or is it partly a relationship business. I am very curious.

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (12)

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Sep 14, 2021 - 11:45am

is this the case only because you're more a junior trader -- what about as you become more senior?

  • Analyst 2 in S&T - Comm
Sep 14, 2021 - 1:59pm

In my experience, it depends a lot on the product and market.

Lease trading from random producers in a podunk town? Probably a lot of travel, drinking, golfing, etc.

Whereas a lot of other trading jobs have much less travel.

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
  • Analyst 2 in S&T - Comm
Sep 14, 2021 - 2:25pm

Interesting. I guess that stuff isn't travel, but it also isn't desk work as OP alluded to.

As a ballpark, I would say the experienced traders at my place are at the desk 40 - 50 % of the time. 

Going out for coffee, drink, golf meetings with counterparts is a surprisingly large part of the gig. 

Sep 14, 2021 - 9:17pm

Depends on the town and the industry.

Houston traders going to the Calgary Stampede? Likely.

In Houston going for drinks/golf/dinner/ game?  Likely.

Power trader going to the PJM conference?  Likely.

Senior power/gas trader going to Doniphan, NE?  Not unless there is a $10 million P&L opportunity.



Sep 14, 2021 - 10:39pm

Pretty rare in US natty at least in my experience/on my desk for trading. Originators on the other hand do get out much more. LDC/Rodeo/golf/drinks of course but this is like once in a while type things. Flying around to get deals done on the regular not so much especially post Covid, just easier over ICE.

Sep 15, 2021 - 9:29pm

Est voluptas ut laudantium quia sint quia. Laborum aut repellendus a libero molestiae tempore excepturi. Omnis eligendi itaque velit rerum ea aut molestiae necessitatibus.

Fugiat saepe rerum odio harum vitae quaerat animi. Necessitatibus inventore esse ut quia alias ipsa autem. Quis et molestiae eum alias repellendus possimus non.

Natus ipsam ipsum provident et quia eligendi. Ipsa qui et quas eum quam. Provident dicta rem quisquam modi eveniet. Rerum dignissimos pariatur quo aperiam enim eligendi. Harum veniam sapiente officiis.

Aut dicta expedita corporis. Ipsa est sed et ipsam non enim. Molestias eaque dolores autem.

Start Discussion

Popular Content See all

Oncycle is a fucking joke
+187PEby Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Dating smart girls
+139OFFby Analyst 2 in Consulting
How often do you get "matches" on apps?
+134OFFby Associate 1 in AM - Other
I want to quit already…
+106IBby Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Have you ever sued your employer?
+95PEby Principal in PE - Other
The Qualifications of an EB
+83IBby Summer Associate in IB-M&A

Total Avg Compensation

September 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (10) $853
  • Vice President (38) $367
  • Associates (219) $232
  • 2nd Year Analyst (133) $153
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (30) $147
  • Intern/Summer Associate (103) $143
  • 1st Year Analyst (483) $135
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (376) $82