“Where are all the people?” This was one Asian metal trader’s first response after landing in the Swiss city of Zug last year to work for a giant commodities trader.
Other than being known as a crowd-free and family-friendly place where trains are never late, Zug is also a low-tax city and headquarters for many multinational corporations. The German-speaking city is home to the world’s biggest metal trader, Glencore, as well as many producers and consumers such as Trimet, Rusal and Constellium.
Metals and Zug go hand in hand in hand – on a recent visit, we strolled down the “Metallstrasse” – Metal Street – and crossed “Metalli”, the main shopping area, which previously was a metals factory.
After rushing between meetings and grabbing ‘brezels’ (the Swiss version of the pretzel) for lunch, we sat down at Pier 41 – supposedly the trendiest bar in town – to reflect on all the different views heard about the outlook for base metals: all looks very uncertain and volatile and for now the bears certainly seem to outnumber the bulls. But one thing surprised us most of all: there is no night club in Zug.
“After 9pm, everything dies in Zug,” a metal trader told us. “They want to keep it family-friendly,” another younger one said. For a bit of fun, Zurich and Lucerne are a 30-minute train journey away.
Surely, an international town such as Zug needs a club. What about a metal-themed club serving cocktails like ‘Flaming Copper’ or ‘Smoking White Ali’? Wouldn’t this be a recipe for success? We think so.