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.

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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.

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  • 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.

Namaste.

D.O.U.G.

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

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