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End of an Era as Banks Eye Commodities Exits

In an interview with CNBC Wednesday, Goldman Sachs COO and President Gary Cohn, who like CEO Lloyd Blankfein started his career at Goldman commodities trading unit J. Aron, did not appear as resolute as JPMorgan in exiting the physical commodities business.

Discussing Metro, a metal warehousing company Goldman bought in 2010, Cohn noted the bank is permitted to own the asset until 2020 and will sell it "at an appropriate time." He also said "commodity hedging is a core competency. We are staying in the commodity hedging business."

Those statements nonetheless leave most of the big questions unanswered about the future of Goldman's physical commodities trading business as a whole.

Should it and others exit the business "beneficiaries are likely to be the large trading houses moving into the vacuum left in financial services," according to Commodity Talent's Stein.

Some of these include Glencore Xstrata (GLEN: NYSE), Mercuria Energy Trading SA, based in Geneva, and Singapore-listed, Hong Kong-based Noble Group.

-- Written by Dan Freed in New York.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.
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