MOVES-Mercuria's chief China concentrates trader leaves in base metal cuts

Feb 3 (Reuters) - Commodity trading giant Mercuria’s head of metal concentrates trading for China is to leave the firm as it continues to trim its base metals headcount in the world’s biggest metals market.

Elly Shentu, who has been in the role at Mercuria’s Shanghai office for more than seven years, said she is on gardening leave -- or not working during her notice period -- until the end of March before her official departure but declined to comment further

The latest cuts to Mercuria’s base metals division - which two sources with knowledge of the matter said also included a concentrates trading assistant and an operations team member - come after it let go around 10 Shanghai staff, including metal and petrochemical traders, in late 2019.

The sources, who declined to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media, said it was possible Mercuria was cutting back to further reduce credit risk. There was a series of defaults by Asian commodity companies last year.

Mercuria’s Shanghai base metals team is now focusing on paper trading but still doing some physical deals, they added.

A Mercuria spokesman declined to comment.

One of the sources said parts of Mercuria’s physical metals business were still doing very well, while the second said the company had recently hired metals traders in Singapore.

Former Rio Tinto copper and iron ore manager Tom Qiu joined Mercuria in Singapore in January as a senior ferrous and nonferrous trader, his LinkedIn profile shows. (Reporting by Tom Daly; additional reporting by Mai Nguyen and Julia Payne; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)