Structured Commodity Finance

What is Structured Commodity Finance?

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Structured Commodity Finance

Structured Commodity Finance or SCF is a type of lending used within the commodities world; where a simple and straight forward bilateral lend will not work. In order to make many commodities based transactions work; we need to look at the wider trading cycles, products, buyers, sellers, insurance and time periods of trades.

The idea behind a structured commodity transaction is that it will secure the trade in alternative ways and bring in lending that is not vanilla. An example of this is structured commodity finance in relation to oil transactions and taking security around assignments of off-take agreements.

Structured Commodity financing includes:

Structured Commodity Finance Cycle: Hard and Soft Commodities


structured commodities finance hard commodities trade cycle

structured commodities finance soft commodities trade cycle



Why is Structured Commodity Finance important?

Structured Commodity Finance allows businesses to grow and develop – as many people cannot access the standard asset type finance; in order to do this they must own an asset of a greater value than their lending requirement. Thus, in order to grow one may not only have assets that they can charge. Using a structured finance mechanism allows un-fundable trades and expansionary practices to be viable. This is especially necessary within the commodities world, where volumes are high but margins are typically low.

Within the commodities world, structured commodity finance is key because it is not the case that a simple facility can be used. This is due to the high capital amount which is required and the corresponding trade cycles. Different funders will have preferred structures, leverage ratios, commodities that they are comfortable with and jurisdictions that they are interested in or are preferred.

What are the benefits of Structured Commodity Finance?

The aim of structured commodity finance is that there is still security and other forms of risk mitigation in place that allow a funder to feel comfortable, but this just looks and feels different from a more vanilla transaction. If lending is structured correctly, great growth is possible in operating businesses.

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About the Author

Mark heads up the trade finance offering at TFG where his team focuses on bringing in alternative structured finance to international trading companies. Prior to joining TFG (, Mark qualified as a lawyer with a top ranked global trade and structured commodity finance team.

Mark has previously advised commodity trading firms, banks and alternative capital providers on international structured trade financings, pre-export, prepayment and limited recourse structures – notably in the oil, soft commodities and metals sectors. This has included mining finance projects, structured letter of credit facilities, receivables discounting and forfaiting agreements.

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