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Commodities

Commodity trader hits iceberg

SINGAPORE -- The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is following up on a recent report by Iceberg Research on Singapore-listed commodity trader Noble Group's that alleges accounting irregularities.

     Iceberg accuses Noble of employing irregular accounting practices to avoid large impairments and boost profits. Noble's share price plunged after the report surfaced on Feb. 15.

     A MAS spokesperson confirmed that the authority is "reviewing the statements in the Iceberg Research report" and will "take appropriate action" if there have been any breaches.

     In response to reports of the official inquiry, Noble said it "welcomes this development and will fully co-operate with, and fully support, the MAS investigation".

     Iceberg has not revealed contact information for its analysts. Its report, Noble Group, a Repeat of Enron, charges that profit "was fabricated" through dubious accounting practices for associate companies. The research company said on Twitter that it does not hold a short position on Noble, directly or indirectly.

     Noble refuted the accusations on Feb. 16, releasing a statement to say that it reports its results in accordance with international financial reporting standards. "We did not mislead the market in any way about the performance," said Noble. The firm will release full-year results for 2014 on Feb. 26.

     Noble Group's share price dropped around 11% with the report's release. After a half-day trading session today on the eve of Chinese New Year, Noble's shares finished at 1.070 Singapore dollars ($0.79), up 1.9% from yesterday's closing price. 

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