Deutsche commodities head to leave, power desk hit hard

Deutsche Bank will make steep staff cuts at its U.S. and European power and gas trading desks, with the departures of dozens of traders and its global head of commodities, David Silbert.

Several sources close to the situation said on Wednesday the bank was shrinking the workforce as part of an earlier announced plan to chop 1,500 positions in corporate banking.

Cuts on the power desk will be the steepest in the commodities division, they added.

A Deutsche spokesman declined to comment.

"Power and gas will be hit hard," one source said.

"They are letting more than 50 go globally, mostly in Houston, but there will be redundancies in Europe," a recruitment industry source said, while a source on the desk in Europe also confirmed the departures.

The cutback comes as Germany's biggest bank is hit by a widening probe linked to a tax scam involving the trading of carbon permits, and hundreds of police and tax inspectors raided its Frankfurt offices on Wednesday.

Deutsche is one of the biggest players in the $148 billion European carbon market.

At a time when banks are already reducing their trading headcount, Europe's power market trading desks are particularly vulnerable to cuts because subsidised renewable generation distorts prices and makes it difficult for financial traders to make a profit.

"Every new megawatt (MW) of renewables is subsidised, and this is distorting the market," said Roland Vetter, head of research at London-based energy trading and advisory firm CF Partners.

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