Singapore set to shine as global precious metals hub

Singapore (Aug 4)   Singapore is rapidly emerging as a global precious metals hub and a key player in the global bullion market.

Only last month, Metalor Technologies opened its refining plant in Tuas, Singapore. The facility offers a complete range of refining services, from evaluation of scrap to bullion production and is estimated to have a production capacity of up to 150 tons a year.

Last week, Metalor Singapore was added to the London Bullion Market Association’s good delivery list.

Speaking at the official opening, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Lee Yi Shyan, said the gold industry will contribute significantly to Singapore’s economy. He said that it should create half a billion dollars of extra value to the economy and generate 1,000 good professional, managerial, executive and technical jobs by 2020.

Hubert Angleys, CEO of Metalor Technologies, said: “We want to grow with the Asian market; that is the reason we wanted to be there. We are located in the middle of the two largest gold consumer markets, China and India.

“We want to take advantage of this geographic location and certainly we are looking forward to getting metal from these two countries but also exporting, through our Singapore customers, metal to these two countries.”

Also, the Singapore Exchange is launching a new gold contract, which will be the world’s first 25kg bar gold contract.

“This gold contract is a plan two years in the making. The reason is that we have seen a trend of gold moving from West to East and there is actually no market place for market players to buy gold at a wholesale level,” Albert Cheng, MD for the Far East at the World Gold Council, told CNBC.

The launch of a gold contract in Singapore will bring centralised trading and clearing of physically cleared gold and could provide a price benchmark for gold trading in Asia.

Since Asia is the largest buyer of gold in the world it makes increasing sense that cities such as Singapore should have more of an influence on the price discovery of gold.

The beginning of this week saw the price of spot gold trade above the $1,300 an ounce level as continuing geopolitical tension offers support.

However, on Tuesday, prices fell back below this level when the latest data from the Conference Board showed that US consumers continued to feel extremely optimistic in July. Higher than expected gross domestic product growth in the US on Wednesday, meanwhile, saw gold drop to $1,294/oz, a drop of close to $5 on the day.

The latest statistics released by the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) of India indicate a slump in demand for silver bar imports during June this year. Silver bar imports during June declined by 17.32% compared to the same month last year.

Also, June silver bar imports were nearly 15% less than in the previous month.

According to the GJEPC, the total of silver bar imports into India during the first quarter of the current financial year has declined by 31.15%.

In a bid to curb burgeoning imports and a rising current account deficit, the government increased the import duty on silver to 10% from 6%. Consequently, the importing of silver has declined quite significantly.