Starting a Commodity Trading Business in Singapore

Singapore's strategic position in the heart of Southeast Asia and its reputation as a global financial hub makes it an ideal locale for entrepreneurs looking to start a commodity trading business.


    Note:This form is not for job seekers

    or salary employees.

    Table of Contents

    Singapore’s strategic position in the heart of Southeast Asia and its reputation as a global financial hub makes it an ideal locale for entrepreneurs looking to start a commodity trading business. The vibrant economy, supportive government policies, and well-established trade routes provide a fertile ground for such ventures. In this guide, we will explore the essential steps and benefits of establishing a commodity trading business in Singapore.

    Understanding the Basics Before You Start a Commodity Trading Business in Singapore

    Commodity trading involves buying and selling products like metals, energy, and agricultural goods. These trades form the backbone of global trade and can be highly lucrative. Prior to entering the market, it’s essential to understand the market dynamics and the commodities you intend to trade.

    Why is Singapore the Greatest Location to Start a Commodity Trading Business?

    Singapore is not just a city-state; it is a pivotal gateway to Asia and the world, making it an exceptional place to start a commodity trading business. It is strategically situated at the intersection of important shipping lines, providing unparalleled access to markets in Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and beyond.

    The country’s pro-business stance is encapsulated in its progressive laws, comprehensive trade agreements, and a legal system that upholds contract integrity and mitigates risks. This environment is underpinned by state-of-the-art infrastructure, world-class financial services, and a regulatory framework that is both supportive and transparent.

    Moreover, the government’s forward-looking initiatives provide incentives and schemes designed to promote trade. For instance, the Global Trader Programme offers reduced corporate tax rates for qualifying commodity trading companies.

    Licensing: The First Step to Establish a Commodity Trading Business in Singapore

    When you’re set on the path to start a commodity trading business in Singapore, the first port of call is the licensing authority. In Singapore, the Commodity Trading Act is the key legislative framework governing the trade of commodities. To operate legally, businesses must obtain the Commodity Trading Act License, which is issued by Enterprise Singapore, a government body charged with driving Singapore’s external, economy-related initiatives.

    The purpose of licensing is to guarantee that only competent entities engage in commodity trading. To navigate this step successfully, you will need to prepare a comprehensive business plan, detailing your business’s scope, strategy, projected financials, and compliance measures. Furthermore, proof of financial robustness and good conduct are essential, which means that the directors and key officers of your company must pass the “fit and proper” test.

    It’s not just about having the license in hand; it’s also about maintaining its validity through strict adherence to the regulations set forth by Singaporean authorities. This includes routine audits and compliance with international trade norms. This initial step is vital, as it sets the tone for your business’s operational integrity and credibility in the global marketplace.

    The Procedure to Establish a Commodity Trading Business in Singapore

    The journey to establish a commodity trading business in Singapore involves several key stages. Initially, the business must be incorporated. This process is facilitated by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore, and you can opt for structures like a Private Limited Company for benefits such as limited liability and ease of share transfer.

    Once incorporated, the next stage is acquiring the necessary permits. In commodity trading, this often means applying for the Commodity Trading Act License and registering with Singapore Customs, especially if your business handles the physical trading of goods.

    The setup procedure doesn’t end with regulatory compliance. You’ll also need to establish a robust corporate bank account, align with local tax requirements, and possibly secure partnerships with logistics providers if your trade involves physical goods.

    Singapore’s ecosystem is conducive to business growth, but it is also structured to ensure all entities operate at the highest standards. The systematic procedure reflects this balance between fostering business and maintaining order and efficiency.

    The Benefits of Starting a Commodity Trading Business in Singapore

    The advantages of launching a commodity trading business in Singapore are numerous:

    Robust Economy: The Singapore economy is characterized by its robustness and resilience, key factors for a trading business.

    Political Stability: The stable political environment reduces operational risks associated with legislative changes and disruptions.

    Tax Incentives: With a headline corporate tax rate of 17% and various incentives for trading companies, the tax environment is favorable.

    Free Trade Agreements (FTAs): Singapore’s extensive network of FTAs enhances market access and reduces trade barriers.

    Intellectual Property (IP) Protection: As a jurisdiction that respects IP rights, traders can conduct business with confidence that their proprietary information is safeguarded.

    Connectivity: State-of-the-art port facilities and logistics infrastructure streamline the movement of goods.

    Skilled Workforce: Access to a multilingual, highly educated workforce facilitates business operations and international dealings.

    Transparency: The government’s commitment to transparency and its fight against corruption makes for a secure and fair trading environment.


    To start a commodity trading business in Singapore represents not just a wise financial move, but a strategic one. The country’s economic landscape is designed to support and nurture trading businesses, offering them the best of global connectivity and a competitive edge. With the right approach and assistance from professionals like OnDemand International, setting up your commodity trading business in Singapore can be a smooth, efficient process that paves the way for immense opportunities and success in the Asian and global markets. Whether you are a seasoned trader or a new entrepreneur, Singapore stands ready to be the foundation upon which you can build a thriving commodity trading enterprise.