Asia's top trading hub Singapore will start an international energy and commodities trading course at one of its universities to meet demand for specialist traders at a time of soaring and volatile prices.
The scheme is supported by nine oil and commodities trading firms including oil major BP, US-based Koch Refining, Emirates National Oil Co (ENOC), the Noble Group, Stemcor (SEA) and Toepfer International, at a cost of $513,000, a government official said on Wednesday.
The International Trading Track will be offered to 60-70 students as a major under the Singapore Management University's (SMU) Bachelor of Business Management degree programme and will start next month.
"Experienced traders are regularly poached like soccer stars. As firms fight to attract and retain talent, the industry has seen strong hiring trends and hefty pay increases," said junior trade minister S Iswaran.
"By growing a steady pool of quality trading professionals, Singapore will be able to provide the necessary pool of expertise for companies to continually draw upon."
Last year, companies under Singapore's Global Trader programme comprising 1,500 traders, turned over $225 billion -- at a time of surging global crude and commodity prices -- which means each trader's average trade volume is $150 million, Iswaran said.
Singapore is the world's third-largest and Asia's number one trading centre, with over 180 energy and commodity companies.
Global banks are also weighing into the energy and commodities markets, aiming to attract more pension or investment funds, many of whom are starting to allocate 5-10 percent of their portfolios to commodities and energy and helping to spur the recent rally in the two markets.
With strong Asian and US Demand growth and limited output capacity threatening to keep markets tight for years, money has poured into funds based on commodities indices such as the Goldman Sachs Commodities Index, which has more than $35 billion in investment tied to it, treble that at the end of 2003.