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Temasek unit backs startup diamond exchange as trade kicks off

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Singapore state investment company Temasek Holdings is throwing its weight behind a diamond exchange that began trading in the city-state on Thursday, backing the project through venture-capital unit Vertex Venture Holdings.

[SINGAPORE] Singapore state investment company Temasek Holdings is throwing its weight behind a diamond exchange that began trading in the city-state on Thursday, backing the project through venture-capital unit Vertex Venture Holdings.

Investors can trade single stones as well as so-called baskets of investment-grade diamonds electronically for physical settlement, the Singapore Diamond Investment Exchange said in a statement. At first, the exchange aims to support spot trading, with plans for derivatives and exchange-traded products.

The move signals a shift away from a centuries-old system where diamonds are largely traded manually and bilaterally in marketplace-style bourses, according to the exchange.

Investors with little access to pricing information in the past will now have a benchmark price to value diamonds as an asset, it said. Vertex Venture, a wholly owned unit of Temasek, is among the backers, it said, without giving details.

"By providing the first ever transparent and open price- discovery mechanism for diamonds, the exchange unlocks a major opportunity for investors to trade diamonds as an asset class," said Alain Vandenborre, executive chairman and founder of the SDiX.

The bourse is "entirely independent of the diamond industry, and fully regulation-ready." Other early investors include Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, and Hsieh Fu Hua, chairman of United Overseas Bank Ltd and a former president of Temasek.

Trading hours are from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm in Singapore, with broker members in Singapore, Hong Kong, London and Dubai.

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