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Editorial

By Albert Cheng, CEO, Singapore Bullion Market Association

Dear members and friends

Welcome to the 28th edition of Crucible, where we explore the latest developments within the key bullion markets across the Asia-Pacific region. This edition underscores the significance of this geographic area, showcasing the pivotal role played by the Singapore Bullion Market Association (SBMA) in nurturing and linking the Asia-Pacific bullion market. As 2023 draws to a close, I’d also like to shed light on our concerted efforts to expand the market in Asia.

Indonesia

In collaboration with World Gold Council, the SBMA Academy curated a specialized two-day training program in February 2023 exclusively for an Indonesian delegation. This strategic initiative went beyond conventional training, placing an emphasis on nurturing the next generation of bullion practitioners in Indonesia. Our objective is to equip them with essential knowledge, priming them for advancing Indonesia’s gold market, particularly as the country contemplates the foundation of a local bullion bank.

Parallel to the training, SBMA facilitated meetings between our members and Indonesian stakeholders, fostering a mutual exchange of insights and discussions around potential business collaborations between Singapore and Indonesia. In this issue of Crucible, you will also get exclusive views by SBMA on the evolving gold market in Indonesia.

Thailand

SBMA played a pivotal role in supporting the Thailand Gold Forum, organised by the Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand, Thai Gold Traders Association, and the World Gold Council. The forum was well attended by over 100 delegates, with SBMA leading a delegation of nearly 30 to connect with key industry players and showcase the robust commercial ties between Thailand and Singapore.

Additionally, SBMA chaired the conference’s first panel, featuring four major local gold traders that highlighted the dynamics and opportunities in the country’s gold landscape. As articulated by Khun Pawan Nawawattanasub, CEO of YLG Bullion International, Thailand’s mature gold market is poised to emerge as a regional linchpin, a sentiment wholeheartedly endorsed by SBMA that also aligns with our commitment to elevate ASEAN’s prominence in the global gold market. Dive into a detailed summary of the forum in this issue.

Hong Kong

To fortify bonds and uncover opportunities for heightened collaboration between Singapore/ASEAN and Hong Kong/Greater Bay Area, SBMA embarked on an official visit to the Chinese Gold and Silver Exchange (CGSE). Fruitful discussions about potential future partnerships are ongoing, with updates anticipated soon. Additionally, SBMA visited our Hong Kong-based members, elucidating potential business avenues. Furthermore, engaging discussions with Hong Kong bullion traders were conducted to stay abreast of developments in the gold market.

Building Singapore as a Precious Metals Hub – Phase II

Over the past decade, Singapore’s stature as a regional precious metals hub has been solidified, and the country now boasts an LBMA-accredited gold refinery, world-class bullion banks, financial institutions, international bullion houses, and global logistics services firms. The forthcoming inauguration of Silver Bullion’s new vault, The Reserve, by the end of 2023, set to store 15,000 tonnes of silver, marks a significant milestone.

In the upcoming phase, Singapore envisions fostering unity in the Asian gold market by collaborating with key regional players like China, India, Australia and our ASEAN neighbors. This will ultimately bolster Singapore’s reputation as a precious metals hub in the Asia-Pacific region. In close cooperation with its members and partners, SBMA aspires for Singapore to become a global logistics centre for refining, trading, clearing, tokenising, and custody of kilobars. This includes, but is not limited to, bullion banks, jewellery manufacturers, high-net-worth investors, institutional investors, sovereign funds, and even central banks.

Three Decades of Fostering Connections and Nuturing Growth

SBMA was established in December 1993 by 16 corporate members from the precious metals industry. It commenced operations in early 1994 with the primary objective of engaging the Goods & Services Tax (GST) Working Committee in discussions concerning the exclusion of GST on precious metals, as well as to develop Singapore as a bullion centre in the Asia-Pacific region. After undergoing professionalisation in 2015 with 22 members, SBMA’s membership base has since more than tripled to 68, and the Association is still actively reviewing new applicants.

As the region’s enthusiasm continues growing and our members engage in heightened communication initiatives, the SBMA Secretariat reaffirms its commitment to furnishing unwavering support for marketing and event management. This continual assistance will be disseminated through a range of communication channels, including our quarterly newsletter Crucible, our official website, and various social media platforms.

The annual Asia-Pacific Precious Metals Conference (APPMC) remains a key event for SBMA to connect with global bullion industry leaders and partners. APPMC 2023 concluded successfully in June, with 470 in-person delegates registering for the event. The 7th edition, to be held on 9-11 June 2024 at Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, promises to be momentous as SBMA celebrates its 30th year.

As we celebrate this milestone, our mission remains steadfast: to innovate, lead, and unify the Asia-Pacific bullion market. To our members and our partners, I look forward to working closely with you in growing the Association from strength to strength.


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