Singapore's commodity trading hits new S$28b high in local business spending

MAY 17, 2018 - 7:58 PM

COMMODITY trading hit a new high of S$28 billion in local business spending and hired more than 15,000 professionals last year, representing a 2.7 per cent compounded annual growth rate over the past five years.

This came on the back of strong demand growth from key markets such as natural gas, nickel and copper, which is driving increased investments in the sector. Last year, the sector generated close to US$1.2 trillion in turnover.

These figures were released on Thursday at Enterprise Singapore's Global Trader Dialogue 2018.

The government agency attributed the healthy growth to a sustained global economy and demand from Asia.

Singapore currently houses more than 400 global, regional and local commodities players across the entire value chain, trading a wide spectrum of commodities under its Global Trader Programme.

Its marketplace comprises 80 per cent of the world's top oil and gas, metals and mining and agricultural companies.

"Moving forward, we want to do more to ensure Singapore stays ahead particularly in two areas - namely price discovery to better support the risk management activities of our trading community, and grow the options for alternative financing for which we have been seeing new entrants such as EFA, NR Capital and LiquidX," said Png Cheong Boon, CEO of Enterprise Singapore.

To ensure a well-connected and efficient trading hub, Enterprise Singapore will foster more collaborations between international traders and local enterprises to pursue opportunities domestically and globally, he added.

To promote digital trade, Enterprise Singapore will continue to drive the development, harmonisation and adoption of such standards of conformance infrastructure locally and globally.

"Third, we will work with traders in Singapore to help them upgrade, improve productivity and globalise their business," Mr Png told some 400 representatives from the international commodity trading industry.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon, who gave the keynote speech, noted that while the sector is doing well, it is no exception to the trend of rapid changes upending existing business models and products.

In particular, digital technologies are disrupting traditional business models and catalysing new growth areas across various sectors.

Mr Koh felt that for Singapore to reinforce its status as a global trading hub in this shift towards digital trade, the need for open innovation and the acquisition of right technologies and talent are critical for traders.