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TRADE FINANCE | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Bank of China launches two global commodity business centres in Singapore

The bank also signed an MoU with IE Singapore.

In a release, Bank of China announced the launch of two global commodity business centres in Singapore, making it the first Chinese bank to establish a global energy commodity business centre and global commodity repo centre outside of China.

The announcement was made at the China-Singapore Commodity and RMB Summit jointly organised by Bank of China and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, and coincided with the first official state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in Singapore.

The launch of the two centres will allow Bank of China to offer commodity financial solutions and services for commodity companies, providing them increased liquidity to facilitate global growth and tap into the opportunities offered by the burgeoning global commodity market.

At the summit, Bank of China also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with IE Singapore, and a cooperation agreement with Singapore Exchange (SGX).

Under the MOU with IE Singapore, Bank of China and IE Singapore commit to further the cooperation to assist Singapore corporates in their internationalisation efforts as well as develop Singapore’s commodity trading and financial sectors. Bank of China’s agreement with SGX will also see both parties continue to cooperate to drive continued Renminbi (RMB) commodity financial innovation, giving businesses access to more diversified financial services and tools.

Speaking about Singapore and China’s bilateral relations at the summit, Bank of China Chairman Mr Tian Guo Li said, “In the past 25 years, we’ve witnessed the deepening of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China. China has since become Singapore’s largest trade partner and largest export market and Singapore is China’s largest investor country.

“As the China market continues to open up, we see ample opportunities for Singapore and China to forge stronger bilateral relations. With China as the world’s largest consumer of commodities, we foresee an increase in business demand for commodity financial solutions and services,” he said.

Mr Tian also pointed to Singapore’s strategic location at the crossroad of Southeast Asia’s major shipping routes as the leading reason for the launch of the two global commodity centres in Singapore.

Through strong government foresight and leadership, Singapore has grown into a global commodity trade hub. Today, the city is the world’s largest fuel trade centre, second largest agribusiness trade centre, and second largest oil refining hub. Singapore’s position in the global trade marketplace for metals and iron ore is also fast-rising.

Bank of China believes that the launch of the two new global commodity centres in Singapore will put the bank in a better position to help businesses leverage Singapore’s position as the leading commodity hub to expand into new markets and grow globally.

IE Singapore Chairman Mr Seah Moon Ming said the cooperation with Bank of China will foster new opportunities for businesses internationally.

“Singapore and China have strong existing trade relations, with the potential to grow even stronger with the launch of the two new global commodity centres. Over the past three decades, IE Singapore has been growing Singapore into a global trading hub, establishing a large and diverse participant network supported by essential services and infrastructure such as programmes to develop a specialist talent pool. The multi-language capability, stable political system and robust legal framework make Singapore an ideal location for Bank of China to base its new global business centres here. We’re pleased to be able to continue to support Bank of China as it looks to develop its global strategy,” Mr Seah said.

As part of the event, guests joined Bank of China and IE Singapore at a panel discussion on China and Singapore’s commodity market development and RMB internationalisation trends and progress. Leading industry players such as Cargill, Dalian Commodity Exchange, Gunvor, Rhodium Resources and SGX participated in the discussion.

The event culminated in key dialogue sessions between China and Singapore trade investment businesses. More than 30 China and Singapore business participated in the dialogue sessions with IE Singapore and Bank of China’s onshore branches to develop relations between the businesses for business cooperation.

More than 400 guests attended the event alongside Singapore and Chinese government, local financial institutions and Bank of China onshore branches.

The China-Singapore Commodity and RMB Summit was supported by China’s National Development and Reform Commission, The Chinese Embassy in Singapore, The Singapore Embassy in China, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Singapore Exchange, the Singapore Business Federation, Chinese Enterprises Associate (Singapore), Singapore-China Business Association and Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry among other industry leaders. 

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