The cash kings of Covid

March 2020 was a grim moment for most people. The coronavirus pandemic had spread beyond China’s borders and was rampaging through Iran, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US. But for Glencore, the world’s largest commodity trading company, it was the opportunity of a lifetime. Glencore’s oil traders, who operate from an office a few steps from Berkeley Square in London’s Mayfair, had recognised the deadly seriousness of the new virus earlier than most. Now, as planes were grounded and office workers told to stay at home, they sprang into action. Because of the lockdowns, oil demand was collapsing at the fastest rate in modern history. Within a few weeks