According to the latest figures by IE Singapore, total trade performance has declined by 3.6% year-on-year (y-o-y) in November 2012. Correspondingly, total exports as well as imports dipped by 2.7% y-o-y and 4.5% y-o-y respectively during the same period. In spite of these figures, Singapore company registration specialist Rikvin affirms that the republic is well-positioned to lead commodities trading activity in Asia.
Analysis by Rikvin shows that many commodities traders prefer to incorporate Singapore companies because they understand the long-term benefits of having a presence in the city. Rikvin has recognized four qualities that continually attract big time commodities players to set up in the global Asian city state – 1) business friendly ecosystem, 2) node connectivity, 3) vibrant financial center and 4) availability of top talent.
BUSINESS FRIENDLY ECOSYSTEM
Singapore has not topped World Bank’s Easiest Place to do Business list for the 7th year running without good reason. It continually offers investors and traders an attractive mix of services which make for an ecosystem conducive to trading. These factors include a sound and stable regulatory foundation, world-class arbitration facility for cross-border disputes and a high degree of personal safety.
Other than attractive corporate tax rates, Singapore’s vast network of Free Trade Agreements and DTAs (Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements) offer Singapore-incorporated trading firms access to over 69 markets. In the same swoop, it offers lower withholding taxes as well as tax risks.
In addition, Singapore offers the Global Traders Program (GTP) which confers a 10% concessionary corporate tax rates to approved traders for at least three years. Companies that meet certain hiring requirements and demonstrate sustainable growth projections may even qualify for 5% corporate tax rate or a renewable 5-year GTP status. To date, there are over 270 companies with the GTP status.
When traders look at Singapore, they see beyond its attractive tax rates. Singapore is set to lead the region as a commodities trading epicenter precisely because it is able to offer this eclectic mix of features that traders look out for.”
Singapore is home to the world’s top energy, agri as well as metal and mineral commodities players including BP, Vitol, Olam International, Trafigura and Anglo American. This is in part due to its centralized geographic positioning and ability to straddle as a gateway between mineral-rich countries such as Indonesia and Australia and developing economies India and China. In addition, trade is facilitated by dynamic infocommunications and supply chain management as well as efficient logistics infrastructure. These services in turn trim unnecessary transportation and stack out costs.
VIBRANT FINANCIAL CENTER
According to the latest data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the republic functions as a vibrant nerve center to 123 commercial banks, 143 fund managers and 280 capital markets services license holders. This in turn makes it a hub for wealth management and investments in Asia. In addition, the Singapore Exchange (SGX) is also the fourth largest forex trading center, offering trading in metal, rubber and coffee futures.
AVAILABILITY OF TOP TALENT
Last but not least, Singapore is home to a melting pot of commodities traders. According to a Financial Times report, the industry has hired 12,000 workers as of 2011. Functions include market intelligence, cross-border financing, risk and shipping management, research and development as well as principal trading.
Mr. Satish Bakhda, Head of Operations at Rikvin explained, “While some industry experts anticipate that Hong Kong may supercede Singapore in this regard, Singapore offers an edge on many fronts. When traders look at Singapore, they see beyond its attractive tax rates. Singapore is set to lead the region as a commodities trading epicenter precisely because it is able to offer this eclectic mix of features that traders look out for.”