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State Commodity Traders Grow to Take On Glencore, Cargill

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When Azerbaijan’s Socar Trading SA took over the storied commodity trader Phibro LLC this year, it put a stamp on a new trend: the emergence of giant state enterprises to buy and sell natural resources.

Azerbaijan is not alone: Saudi Arabia, China, Oman, Thailand and Russia are also building or expanding government-owned firms to procure and market commodities directly, bypassing the traditional oil and grain traders such as Glencore Plc, Cargill Inc., Vitol Group BV and Trafigura Beheer BV.