S'pore role in metals trade growing

PHOTO: S'pore role in metals trade growing

Singapore is playing an increasingly significant role in metals trading, as Asia's demand for commodities is set to accelerate, said Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang on Wednesday . He noted: "We have seen good growth in the metals and mining trading sector."

Last year, offshore trade turnover for the metals and mining sector surged by nearly 20 per cent to hit almost $90 billion, he said. He added that the sector's activities contributed $1.7 billion in total business spending to Singapore's economy.

Such data is a "reflection of Singapore's commitment and efforts to attract a strong ecosystem of global players from the entire value chain", said Mr Lim.

He was speaking at the inaugural Singapore Iron Ore Week Forum at the Resorts World Convention Centre.

Mr Lim said Asia's focus to grow domestic consumption is set to spur demand for commodities.

He noted that key global and regional industry participants are now situated in Singapore.

For instance, major miners such as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Vale have set up substantial operations here, while several Asian steel producers such as Baosteel, Shagang and Tata have also established their presence here.

More recently, global miner Anglo American started a commercial hub here last July to grow its business presence in the region. Iron ore physical trading platform GlobalOre has also set up shop here.

"They all point towards Singapore's increasingly significant role in metals trading," Mr Lim said.

He added: "We have also built up an intricate and healthy ecosystem for traders in Singapore."

He noted that trading companies here are able to easily access a wide variety of support services, ranging from finance and insurance to risk management, shipping and arbitration.

Other speakers at the forum also touched on Singapore's growing presence in the metals trading arena.

Singapore Exchange (SGX) chief executive Magnus Bocker said: "An increasing number of companies in the iron ore and steel industry, ranging from producers to trading companies to steel mills, choose to set up regional offices in Singapore."

Mr Bocker cited International Enterprise (IE) Singapore data which showed that turnover for the metals and minerals sector here shot up 4.5 times from US$16 billion in 2007 to US$72 billion (S$89 billion) in 2011.

SGX has seen strong growth on its commodities-related clearing and trading front. It cleared 109 million tonnes of iron ore swaps last year, 2.5 times the 43 million tonnes done in 2011. More than 95 per cent of the world's cleared iron ore swaps are done at SGX.

IE Singapore CEO Teo Eng Cheong noted that several commodities companies have done bond issues and loan syndication out of Singapore to finance their trading activities.

For example, Trafigura launched its first perpetual bond on SGX last month, raising US$500 million.


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