HK-based company sees high gold demand in PH

Hong Kong-based company J. Rotbart & Co. expects an increasing demand for gold in the Philippines, comprising almost a fourth of its global portfolio, as more Filipinos opt for new investments amid robust economic growth.

Joshua Rotbart, founder and managing partner of J. Rotbart & Co., said on Tuesday about 20 percent of its transactions worldwide came from the Philippines in the first quarter of the year.

The firm launched its Manila office last January to offer a bespoke precious metal service with specializations in sourcing, liquidation, transportation and storage of bullion, as it expands its footprint in the Philippines. It has also an office in Singapore.

J. Rotbart & Co. also offers 10 secure tax-free vaults globally and delivery of bullion to over 35 destinations worldwide.

“We’re going to keep this 20 percent ratio for this year. Our plan I would say is to get exposure, if we get to two percent of the local clients engaged in gold, we would be happy for the first year,” Rotbart said in a press briefing.

“Every week we get new clients, through the (offshore) bank (Banco de Oro) and other parties,” he said.

Rotbart noted the company generally trades about USD200 million a year globally.

“For us, it’s a very important key market and I can tell you as a company, a lot of our resources now are dedicated to the Philippines… So we really believe in this market,” he added.

Rotbart said the Philippines currently ranks 24th in the world for gold reserves.

He said annual gold demand stood at 4,345 tons, with almost half going to jewelry.

Meanwhile, Rotbart pushed key initiatives that could make the Philippines a “gold center.”

“From the government point of view, scrap the tax and (secure) infrastructure… You need vault, you need security in place to move it around, you need the airlines,” he said. “If you want to allow a free trade, you have to scrap the tax, and that’s what Singapore did.” (PNA)