BofA Merrill Closes European Power and Gas Desk

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA Merrill) has closed its European power and gas desk. According to a company spokesperson “the decision follows a recent review of BoA Merrill’s broader commodities activities and reflects the combined impact of lower client demand for European power and gas hedging and recent regulatory changes.”

“The bank will continue to trade coal, commodity indices, oils, metals and US power and gas from its Houston, London, New York and Singapore offices,” the spokesperson added. According to reports, the bank’s European carbon trading desk will also be reduced but will not be shut entirely.

BofA Merrill becomes the fourth major player to close parts of its commodities business as tighter regulation and fewer arbitrage opportunities erode profits.

Last month Morgan Stanley sold its main physical oil trading unit to Russia’s state-run oil group Rosneft, while Deutsche Bank announced a significant scaling down of its commodities trading operations. In July, JPMorgan said its physical trading operations were up for sale.

The sector is now dominated by commodities trading houses and utilities, with Barclays, Citi and Goldman Sachs among the few remaining major banks with a significant presence.

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