Commodity trading hits new high of S$28b in 2017

Singapore

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.

"Enterprise Singapore will continue to spearhead the development of Singapore into a leading global trade hub, and will actively work with our international and local traders to find new ways to drive growth, especially in this wave of digital transformation," said Png Cheong Boon, CEO of Enterprise Singapore.

"We will focus on two key areas in our efforts. First, fostering more collaborations between local and foreign enterprises of all sizes to improve productivity, promote innovation and explore internationalisation opportunities."

Secondly, Enterprise Singapore will work with its key partners to develop standards and conformance schemes to ensure interoperability, security and data privacy across industry-wide digital platforms.

"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.

To accelerate the adoption of open innovation and strengthen Singapore's trade ecosystem and capabilities, Enterprise Singapore will be rolling out the Trade Infrastructure Development Fund (TIDF) in the second half of this year. This was announced at the Committee of Supply Debate in March.

TIDF supports Singapore-based companies' efforts in developing innovative trade technologies and solutions such as B2B digital marketplaces, widening financial service offerings, and building a strong commodity derivatives space.