Shares in commodities trader Glencore ticked higher on their first day of official trade but remained below their offer level, dashing hopes of a strong start after the group set a mid-range flotation price.

Sources close to the matter had said Glencore, the world's largest diversified commodities trader, felt it had left money on the table with an offer price of 530 pence that valued the company at 36.7 billion pounds ($59.15 billion).

The shares have dropped on the grey market since the offer price was set on Thursday, touching lows of 506 pence on Monday.

By 3:36 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, the first day of unconditional trading, the shares were changing hands at 524 pence, up 1.9 percent, broadly in line with the mining sector, where stocks were recovering after sharp falls on Monday on the back of worries over Chinese demand and a European recovery.

The shares begin trading in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

The commodities giant is drawing the line under almost four decades of life as a private company with what is set to be London's largest initial public offering to date.

Glencore will join the FTSE blue chip index on Wednesday, further boosting a basic resources sector that already makes up around 15 percent of the index, making it the second largest behind oil and gas. Glencore will add 0.28 percent to that, though its weighting will increase along with its free float.

Glencore has consistently said it is listing for the long term and its partners, along with cornerstone investors who have signed up to back Glencore's float, are locked in for at least six months.

But price still matters for Glencore if it is to use the stock as currency for more of the opportunistic acquisitions that have made its fortunes -- not least a long-expected move on miner Xstrata in which it already owns a controlling stake of over a third.

The market for share offerings has been unpredictable, with at least ten European initial public offerings in the last three months being pulled at the last minute. Most of those who did make it are still trading under water, or below their offer price.

Founded in 1974 by Marc Rich, a trading sensation who fell foul of U.S. authorities, Glencore has grown into the world's largest diversified commodities trade, with subsidiaries employing tens of thousands and an oil division with more ships than Britain's Royal Navy.

(Reporting by Clara Ferreira-Marques; Editing by Mark Potter and Alexander Smith)