The collapse in oil costs triggered by the coronavirus pandemic handed a giant payday to
one of many few hedge-fund managers to have survived years of disappointing returns in commodity markets.
Greatest identified for bullish wagers on crude that led to banner returns through the oil-price growth ending in 2008, Mr. Andurand started to wager in opposition to oil when components of China closed to include Covid-19 in early 2020. The virus quickly hammered demand for oil and different fuels globally, prompting a market rout. U.S. crude futures finally tumbled below $0 a barrel for the primary time in historical past.
The wager propelled Mr. Andurand’s flagship fund, a part of London-based funding agency Andurand Capital Administration LLP, to return 69% for the 12 months as a complete, in line with an individual aware of the matter. That snapped two years of losses for the fund, which was burned when oil costs dropped in late 2018. The features in 2020 marked its largest advance since its inception in 2013.
A second fund that offers Mr. Andurand extra leeway to take danger gained 154%, the particular person aware of the matter mentioned. That positioned it among the many best-performing hedge funds globally in 2020, in line with a weekly report on fund efficiency by
Mr. Andurand is among the most distinguished survivors of a troubled decade for hedge funds specializing in uncooked supplies like oil, espresso and cocoa. Hampered by uneven and infrequently falling markets, corporations together with Astenbeck Capital Administration, Armajaro Asset Administration and Brevan Howard have all closed commodities funds.
For merchants who lasted the course, gyrations within the value of oil, metals and agricultural commodities sparked by the pandemic supplied an opportunity to make up misplaced floor. After sinking within the spring, U.S. crude-oil costs recovered considerably and on Tuesday rose above $50 a barrel for the primary time since February final 12 months.
Copper costs have additionally surged to their highest stage in additional than seven years, fueled by the rebound in China’s economic system. A slide in government-bond yields and the scramble to safe-haven property despatched gold costs to their highest level on record in the summer, earlier than the valuable steel fell again.
$170 million Cayman Islands-based Service provider Commodity Fund, up round 20% for 2020, was one other to money in on the crash in oil. Early final 12 months, Mr. King wager that oil costs would slide and that the value of gasoline would fall relative to that of crude. This hole in costs, often known as the crack unfold, sank to historic lows when lockdowns saved automobiles off the highway.
“It was massively unprecedented and can by no means be repeated, I might argue,” Mr. King mentioned of unfavourable oil costs in a December interview.
Switzerland-based GZC Funding Administration AG returned round 20%, in line with an individual aware of the matter, benefiting from bearish options-based trades that profited when U.S. crude futures turned unfavourable. A fund run by Delbrook Capital Advisors Inc., which invests in mining and power shares, greater than doubled for the 12 months as a complete, mentioned Canada-based managing director
Hedge funds weren’t the one ones to become profitable. Bodily buying and selling firms that shift uncooked supplies around the globe additionally benefited from the oil-market mayhem. Trafigura Group Pte. Ltd., one of many largest impartial merchants, posted a record profit for the fiscal 12 months led to September.
Some cash managers are hopeful that commodities will entice renewed curiosity from pension funds and different institutional traders in search of options to expensive shares and bonds.
—Julie Steinberg contributed to this text.
Write to Joe Wallace at Joe.Wallace@wsj.com
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