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Trafigura Nears Multibillion-Dollar German-Backed Loan for LNG

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(Bloomberg) — Commodities trader Trafigura Group is close to agreeing a German government-backed loan for gas supplies, as Berlin steps up efforts to secure natural resources following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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The loan of around $3 billion to $4 billion would be linked to Trafigura supplying Germany with liquefied natural gas, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.  It would be the second such deal in recent months, after Trafigura in October announced it had secured an $800 million loan to supply metals to Germany.

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Germany is offering backing for commodity traders through a program known as untied loan guarantees, managed via Euler Hermes AG — an export-credit unit that’s now part of Allianz SE.

A Trafigura spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment outside of regular business hours.

A Euler Hermes spokeswoman declined to comment and referred questions to the economy ministry. A spokesperson for the economy ministry declined to comment.

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Read: Germany Backstops Commodity Traders as War Drives Resource Dash

Germany has had to retool its energy policy since the war in Ukraine forced it to end a longstanding dependence on cheap Russian gas. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has traveled to Saudi Arabia and Qatar seeking energy deals, and last week Qatar announced a long-term agreement to supply Germany with LNG starting in 2026.

For trading houses like Trafigura, the deals represent relatively cheap financing at a time when high commodity prices and extreme volatility have increased their need for credit and have left some banks reluctant to add exposure to the sector. 

—With assistance from Archie Hunter.

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