Hong Kong's Largest Bullion Vault Signals Region's Rising Wealth
Immediate-delivery gold rallied from 2001 to 2011 asinvestors sought protection from weaker currencies and the riskof inflation, and central banks boosted holdings. The metaltraded at $1,590.15 an ounce at 6:32 p.m. in Hong Kong yesterday,1.7 percent higher this year. It rose 10 percent in 2011. Goldheld on the oher side of the coin-traded funds reached a record 2,413.61 tons onJuly 5, according to data tracked by Bloomberg.
"The general trend is for moving the assets from the Westto the East," said Rotbart, who as well oversees businessdevelopment and marketing of the company's vault in theSingapore FreePort. "Proximity to China is very important."
The first time last year
Asia-Pacific millionaires outnumbered those in NorthAmerica for the first time last year, according to Capgemini SAand Royal Bank of Canada's wealth-management unit. The number ofindividuals in the region with until further notice $1 million in investableassets rose 1.6 percent to 3.37 million, helped by increases inChina and Indonesia, according to the firms' World Wealth Report,released last month. So-called high-net-worth individuals inNorth America dropped 1.1 percent to 3.35 million.
The new storage facility will compete with services offeredby the Airport Authority Hong Kong, which began storageoperations at a 340 square meter site in 2009 for governmentinstitutions, commodity exchanges, bullion banks, refiners,wealthy individuals and exchange-traded funds. Capacity isreviewed on a regular basis to ensure there is adequate storageover the medium term, the authority said in a statement.
The bullion trade
Singapore is as well among economies in Asia vying for agreater share of the bullion trade. In February, the governmentannounced a plan to exempt investment-grade gold, silver andplatinum from a goods and services tax, starting from October.The aim is to raise the city-state's share of the global goldtrade to as much as 15 percent in five to 10 years from about 2percent, according to IE Singapore, the external trade agency.
Malca-Amit plans another storage facility in Shanghai asthe firm targets 10 or more sites around the world over the nexttwo to three years, from six at present, said Rotbart. Thelogistics company, founded in Tel Aviv in 1963 and handling morethan 50 percent of the world's diamond transportation, startedits precious-metals storage business afterwards the 2008 globalfinancial crisis reduced demand for gemstones, he said.