Noble Group challenged over mark-to-market accounting

Mysterious critic calls trader's long-dated contract valuations into question

Yusuf Alireza - Noble Group
Yusuf Alireza, Noble Group

It has been a gruelling year for Noble Group, the Hong Kong-based commodity trading firm. Over a period of five weeks in February and March, a mysterious entity called Iceberg Research published three detailed reports attacking Noble's accounting practices. Among other things, the reports alleged that Noble had inflated the valuation of its 13% stake in Yancoal, an Australian coal miner, and had used aggressive mark-to-market accounting to pump up the value of long-term commodity transactions. O