Singapore’s Channel News Asia (CNA) recently published a fascinating new documentary film about Singapore’s national reserve assets, including Singapore’s famed monetary gold reserves.
The CNA documentary includes a segment featuring BullionStar’s CEO Luke Chua in BullionStar’s vault visually explaining what 1 tonne of gold looks like, to illustrate the magnitude of Singapore’s gold reserves.
The CNA documentary team also obtained access to the secret gold vault of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Singapore’s central bank, where more than half of Singapore’s official gold reserves appear to be stored. This is the first time ever that Singapore’s gold reserves have been filmed inside the MAS central bank gold vault.
Singapore’s central bank holds 225.4 tonnes of gold, making it the 24th largest sovereign gold holder in the world. Up until March 2021, MAS held 127.4 tonnes of gold, and had not bought gold for many years.
But then Singapore’s central bank went on a gold buying spree, buying 26.4 tonnes of gold bars between April and May 2021 (see here), and then adding another 73.6 tonnes of gold bars between January and July 2023. See here.
Singapore's central bank (MAS) added another 2 tonnes of gold to its monetary reserves during July, taking its total gold holdings to 227.34 tonnes.— BullionStar (@BullionStar) September 4, 2023
With this new purchase, MAS has now bought exactly 100 tonnes of gold since it started its gold buying spree in April 2021.… pic.twitter.com/mA0ylARNvD
In total, that was 100 tonnes of gold added to Singapore’s gold reserves over just 2 years, which in percentage terms was a massive 77% increase compared to early 2021.
In fact, the rate of gold accumulation by Singapore’s central bank during early 2023 was so intense that MAS earned the distinction of being the world’s largest central gold buyer in Q1 2023, during which it bought 68.7 tonnes of gold.
While Singapore’s gold reserves have a market value of approximately SGD 18.8 billion, this represents less than 5% of MAS’s total reserve assets, which in total are worth about SGD 400 billion. The rest of the reserve assets of Singapore’s central bank, which consist of holdings of securities (bonds and stocks) and foreign currencies, are also, along with the 225.4 tonnes of gold, managed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
In addition, Singapore has two additional state sovereign investment funds. One is the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), a Singapore government-owned company which manages Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. The other is Temasek, a Singapore government-owned global investment company. GIC invests globally in equities, bonds and real. estate. Temasek invests in equities, but also owns entire companies across the world, and has an investment portfolio worth SGD 400 billion. Both of these national investment funds are also profiled in the CNA program.
The segment featuring BullionStar’s CEO in BullionStar precious metals vault, and which also features footage from the MAS gold vault, runs from approximately minutes 11:46 until 15:35.
The MAS Secret Gold Vault in Singapore
Near the beginning of the CNA documentary, the narrator states that Singapore’s central bank (MAS) granted the CNA team exclusive access to the MAS secret gold vault, on condition that CNA signed an undertaking to keep the location of the vault secret. This narration is accompanied by a shot of a one page document titled ‘Undertaking to Safeguard Official Information’ which invokes Singapore’s Official Secrets Act, and which the CNA documentary producer and crew had to sign as an undertaking with MAS not to reveal the location of the vault to anyone.