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Are cryptocurrencies "real" money?

20 Sep 2018 12:00am

Mr. Billy Chiam, currently the Director of Gold Price Singapore, a precious metals dealer, was featured on Channel News Asia. During the interview, he shared his perspectives on cryptocurrencies and expressed his belief that physical gold remains "real" money, continuing to serve as a hedge against inflation and economic uncertainty.

Are Cryptocurrencies Real Money

Do cryptocurrencies represent the money of the future? And if you want to invest or mine for cryptocurrencies, find out how to go about it in Money Mind’s episode: Into the Future

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Gold shines despite uncertainty over price


 July 29, 2013
 July 29, 2013

The large fall in gold prices from the peak in 2011 has seen growing retail demand in the local bullion market. Photo: Bloomberg
The large fall in gold prices from the peak in 2011 has seen growing retail demand in the local bullion market. Photo: Bloomberg
SINGAPORE — With gold prices continuing to weaken, retail demand for the precious metal is picking up in Singapore as buyers chase an investment which has become more affordable of late.And the increasing number of buying channels for gold is acting as a further stimulus for demand.
For UOB, which launched gold or silver savings accounts five years ago, growth in demand has become especially visible in the past six months since it began offering online access to the service.

“We have seen strong gold demand from our retail customers since the gold price dropped below US$1,500 (S$1,896) per ounce in April. Since then, we have seen an increase in transactions of 40 per cent on average,” said Ms Beh Hsia Wa, Director of UOB Bullion and Futures.

The number of gold savings accounts at the bank has also jumped by 22 per cent in the past half year, partially because young customers are more enthusiastic about gaining exposure to gold through digital means rather than buying a physical product.

“We are … seeing an increasing number of younger people showing interest in gold and silver products,” Ms Beh added. “Generally, they tend to prefer to trade online, with 11 per cent of all online transactions performed by customers aged 20 to 29.”

The growth in retail demand experienced by UOB is part of the larger development in the local bullion market since gold prices have fallen by close to 40 per cent from the peak in 2011. This has lowered the threshold for more retail and first-time investors, said Mr Billy Chiam, Director of precious metal dealer Gold Price Singapore.

“Despite the current price volatility, gold is still a safe haven investment given its limited supply. Retail demand in the market has been growing particularly strongly since the government lifted the Goods and Services Tax on bullion import and purchase in October last year, and I expect it to further pick up ahead of market improvements,” Mr Chiam said.

Gold Price Singapore, which was established in 2011 to deal in physical gold, now serves at least 2,000 customers. But it is competing for growing demand in a market where retail investors have more choices to buy and trade gold.

Earlier this month, the Singapore Precious Metals Exchange launched the world’s first online exchange platform where members can buy, sell and store precious metals for as little as US$1,000. It currently has over 10,000 customers.

But while more people are buying gold through an increasing number of sales channels, some manner of caution is still necessary as it is unclear whether prices are set to spiral further, said OCBC analyst Barnabas Gan.

Gold has sunk to around US$1,300 per ounce of late, he noted, with prices reversing from the bullion’s 12-year rally due to better risk sentiment, improving United States economic indicators and the realisation that the US quantitative easing will eventually come to an end, Mr Gan said.

“The silver lining, thus, is the hope that the tapering would start and end in 2014 for the market to fully digest its effects, allowing gold to finally behave its traditional role of a wealth protection instrument,” he added.

“Till that day comes, we look for gold to remain soft and advise caution for speculative investments.”

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