Takeaways from the SBMA's annual Asia Pacific Precious Metals Conference

Goldhub blog

Takeaways from the SBMA's annual Asia Pacific Precious Metals Conference

Alistair Hewitt
Head of Market Intelligence
World Gold Council


I have spent the past few days at the Singapore Bullion Market Association’s annual Asia Pacific Precious Metals Conference in Singapore. An excellent event with good attendance from across the region, including attendees from Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, Australia, China and India.  As with most conferences, a key benefit is being able to get the main players from the region in one place to engage, learn and do business. 


But the content of the conference was good, too. Three themes stood out to me:

  • Digital innovation: A fascinating session focused on technology and its interlinkages with gold, the impressive pace of innovation, and the role that Singapore is playing in nurturing the development of the market. A key message that leapt out to me is that while physical gold demand may be healthy, it is a mature market which needs to keep one eye on tomorrow’s investors and, in the words of the Dillon Gage (the US bullion dealer), “adapt, adopt and digitise”
  • ESG: Last year, Paul Fisher’s key note speech focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, highlighting institutional investors’ focus on climate change as posing a potential threat to the global gold market. This year, on a panel chaired by Terry Heymann, our CFO, the industry debated the impact of ESG and responsible sourcing guidelines on the industry and their importance to the gold investment and jewellery markets
  • China: Roland Wang, our Managing Director for China, noted the country only exported 4.6t of gold jewellery to ASEAN countries in 2018, yet regional jewellery demand was just shy of 100t. With China’s fabricating ability and innovative jewellery designs he felt there were opportunities to cooperate and promote gold trade in the region

Beyond this, there were interesting conversations about developments in Myanmar, Vietnam, and OTC and exchange trading. I’ll be spending the two days following the conference in Vietnam to learn more about how the market is performing.

All the slides used in the conference will be uploaded on to the SBMA’s website in the next week or so, including the slides I presented on the investment case for gold masterclass I hosted with Bart Melek from TD Securities.

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