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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Singapore bourse to start kilobar gold trading to lure investors


Singapore Exchange, Southeast Asia’s biggest bourse operator, will start trading a kilobar gold contract next month as it joins other nations in the biggest consuming region in a push for new price benchmarks.

The wholesale contract for 25 kilograms of 99.99% purity will start trading at 8:15 a.m. on Oct. 13, according to a joint statement from the exchange, IE Singapore, the World Gold Council and the Singapore Bullion Market Association. The group said in June that trading may begin as soon as September.

The Shanghai Gold Exchange started bullion trading in the city’s free-trade zone on Sept. 18, while CME Group Inc. is planning a physically-delivered futures contract in Hong Kong in the fourth quarter as global demand shifts from the West to the East. Asia accounted for 63% of total consumption of gold jewelry, bars and coins last year, with China overtaking India as the biggest buyer, according to the council.

“The launch of the Singapore contract, in addition to what has happened in Shanghai, is a reflection of the importance of Asia to the global gold market,” Albert Cheng, managing director for the Far East at the London-based council, said in an interview today.

Gold for immediate delivery is heading for the first quarterly loss this year as prospects for higher U.S. interest rates reduce the appeal of the metal as a store of value. The metal traded at US$1,219.58 ($1,555.57) an ounce by 4:19 p.m. in Singapore, set for a 8.1% decline since the end of June, according to Bloomberg generic pricing.

Good Delivery
The government is promoting Singapore as a center for precious metals after removing 7% goods and services tax on investment-grade gold, silver and platinum in October 2012. Sixteen brands, including bars from Metalor Technologies SA’s refinery in Singapore, have been approved for so-called good delivery for the new contract, according to Cheng, who is also the secretary of the Singapore Bullion Market Association.

The four market makers, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of Nova Scotia, Standard Bank Plc and Standard Chartered Plc, will be required to hold 2 metric tons of gold in Singapore and another 2 tons in the region, Cheng said today.

“Multi-center pricing mechanisms will feed into each other and in the long term, will create a more efficient market and be beneficial to the end user, whether it’s jewelry manufacturers or investors,” said Cheng.

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