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China's Honors Commodity to hire traders for Singapore unit

BEIJING, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Chinese trading company Honors Commodity plans to hire oil, agriculture and metals traders for its office in Singapore to expand its global footprint, an official from a company unit told Reuters in an interview.

"We set up this company as Singapore is an important city for commodity trading," said Ruan Pengfei, the Head of the Nonferrous Metals Department at Honors Bung, a majority owned trading unit of Honors Commodity, said on Thursday.

Honors Commodity Singapore plans to have 11 traders at its Singapore office by March 2020, said Ruan. The company will be moving two oil traders, one agriculture trader and one metals trader from Honors Bung based in the city Hangzhou to Singapore. The firm will hire two metals, one agriculture and four oil traders, he said.

Zhou Kai, the leader of the oil team, will head the Singapore office, said Ruan who will also be moving to Singapore.

"We want to expand our business everywhere in the world," Ruan said. He mentioned the company has been trading physical and futures commodities with a focus on arbitrage trade across the Shanghai Futures Exchange, London Metal Exchange and Comex.

"Only big government backed companies can do physical oil trading (in China), so we want to do this in Singapore. We want to also trade metals, palm oil," he added.

"Many commodities are international" he said adding the goal is to "do physical trading over the world."

Some of the key commodities the trader is involved in include oil, copper, aluminum, nickel, zinc, nickel pig iron, palm oil and rubber from its offices in Hangzhou and Hong Kong, he said.

Honors Commodity is backed by the government of Hangzhou, the capital of the eastern province of Zhejiang.

"Hangzhou government is open to support the commodity company. (It) will invest in local teams, if one team does well then government gives more money and we are one of these teams," Ruan said.

He declined to comment on the size of the investment for the Singapore expansion.

Honors Bung has about 70 employees but Honors Commodity through its group of various subsidiaries has more than 1,000 employees, according to Ruan.

In 2017, Honors Commodity, which owns three subsidiaries, achieved sales of 7.19 billion yuan ($1.01 billion) and net profit of 42.2 million yuan, according to its website.

($1 = 7.0928 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Shivani Singh and Muyu Xu, Additional reporting by Beijing newsroom; editing by Christian Schmollinger)