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Commodity price surge lifts profits at Mitsubishi, Itochu

Executives at big Japanese trading houses cagey on Russia operations

Despite strong earnings, executives with Japanese trading companies are cautious due to the Ukraine-Russia war. (Source photos by Kai Fujii, Reuters and Sakhalin Energy/Jiji)

TOKYO -- Soaring commodity prices are fattening the earnings of big Japanese trading houses, with Itochu and Mitsubishi Corp. both reporting record net profits for the fiscal year that ended in March. Uncertainties over the Ukraine war, however, loom over the traders' Russian business.

"We have seen a rapid rebound in demand following the recovery from the pandemic, and we also had a tailwind of recovery in commodity prices," said Mitsubishi CEO Katsuya Nakanishi at a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.

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