Globe and Mail – A year ago, Dwight Anderson was being hailed as the "king of commodities," a precocious 40-year-old hedge fund manager who made a prescient – and highly profitable – bet that global food prices would spike in unprecedented fashion.
Now he is merely another in a long line of hard-luck speculators, his crown handed to him by a fickle commodities market that has proven itself capable of ruining fortunes as quickly as it created them.
In a letter to investors yesterday, Mr. Anderson announced he was shutting down the largest fund of Ospraie Management LLC, the firm he built into one of the largest commodities-themed hedge funds in the world. The Ospraie Fund, which focuses on natural gas, oil, metals and other resources, boasted assets of almost $4-billion (U.S.) at its peak last year, but so far in 2008 it is down 39 per cent – including a gut-wrenching 27-per-cent slide in August.
"I am extremely disappointed with this result and the fund’s sudden reversal in performance," Mr. Anderson wrote. "The losses were primarily caused by a substantial selloff in a number of our energy, mining and resource equity holdings during a six-week period characterized by some of the sharpest declines in these sectors in the past 10 to 20 years."