Investing in UOB Gold

I had been buying 1/10 Oz Gold Bullion Coins (bless my soul!) from UOB for several years now, though none the wiser other than the budget I had on hand at that time. The only thought to it was to choose the Australian Kangaroo over the Canadian Maple Leaf as the face value of the earlier is higher for the same weight.

I was not an investor. I was treating it more of a collectible. It was time to spend some effort to delve deeper before the spread cost me further.

Before we move on further, do note that when you sell back to UOB, you are required to show proof of purchase such as the original UOB invoice and to ensure that the seal or packaging of physical gold from UOB has not been broken or tampered with.

UOB will not buy back if the seal is broken or tampered with. UOB will also deduct $100 off the BUY rate should a receipt not be furnished.

* SELL/BUY rates discussed are based on 10 Oct 2019

1. GOLD BULLION COINS

Weight (Oz)Weight (Gm)SellBuySpreadSpread
(based on 1 Oz)
1 Oz31.1035 2146 20658181
1/2 Oz15.5517 1114 103282164
1/4 Oz7.7759 570 51555220
1/10 Oz3.1104 252 20547470
1/20 Oz1.5552 152 102501000

UOB sells both the Canadian Maple Leaf Gold Coins and Australian Kangaroo Gold Nuggets in various weights above.

2. PAMP GOLD BARS

Weight (Gm)SellBuySpreadSpread (based
on 100 Gm)
Spread (based
on 1 Oz)
1006764664012412439
503421331910220463
31.1035
(1 Oz)
213120636821968
201402132676380118
15.5517
(1/2 OZ)
1086103056360112
10 732 66270700218
5 389 329601200373
2.5 216 163532120659
1 95 64313100964

Produits Artistiques Métaux Précieux – artistic precious metals products – better known as PAMP, is the world’s leading bullion brand, and one of the most trusted refiners and fabricators of precious metals.

3. ARGOR CAST BAR

Weight (Gm)SellBuySpread
1006676659878

This sturdy 100 gram cast gold bar is a 99.99% pure gold bar from Argor-Heraeus SA, one of the world’s leading international gold refiner and bar manufacturer, in Mendrisio, about 17 km from Lugano in south eastern Switzerland.

4. CAST BARS

Weight (Kilobar)SellBuySpread
1 Kg6627465997277

Cast bars by UOB are 1 Kg each.

Thought process of investing in Gold

As an investor, you buy gold from UOB at the SELL rate and sell back to them at the BUY rate, the difference being the spread.

Generally the heavier the bullion coin or bar purchased, the lower the spread. E.g. the spread for 1 Oz bullion coin is $81, however if you have a 1/10 Oz, effectively the spread is $470 if you sell 10x of these coins for the same weight.

It is therefore more cost-effective to buy a larger unit size rather than multiple smaller units adding to the same weight .

Why the higher spread for the ‘same’ weight? If all else being equal, purchasing the smallest-sized gold possible would be recommended for most flexibility. However, minting costs tend to be ‘fixed’ regardless of the size of gold. The mint still has to create the dies, source the metal, pay for marketing, manage distributors, etc. So smaller gold bullion or bars carry a higher markup as a percentage of overall cost. It’s similar to how NTUC sells you 20 rolls of paper towels for $20, but the neighborhood store sells 4 for $10.

Type WeightSellBuySpread
Gold Bullion Coin1 Oz2146206581
PAMP Gold Bar1 Oz2131206368
Gold bullion coin 1/2 Oz1114103282
PAMP Gold Bar 1/2 Oz1086103056

From the above, you can see that PAMP Gold Bar is cheaper (lower SELL rate) than Gold Bullion Coin with a lower spread for the same weight. Why?

Prices of PAMP Gold Bars are based on the international gold price, while prices for Gold Bullion Coin include a premium over the international gold price because of their collectability, status as legal tender, and rarity. Therefore, a pure gold investor will opt for PAMP Gold Bar.

Type WeightSellBuySpread
PAMP Gold Bar100 Gm67646640124
Argor Cast Bar100 Gm6676659878

On a strict comparison between PAMP Gold Bar versus Argor Cast Bar for the same weight, we can see that the latter is cheaper (lower SELL rate) with a lower spread.

It is more cost effective to invest in Argor Cast Bar rather than PAMP Gold Bar.

Rationally, the most cost-effective to invest is by the Kilobar. However, for most of the common folks like you and me, having $60,000+ freely available is not a luxury we have. In addition, the con of having a large unit is that it is not liquid in a sense. You cannot divest part of a Kilobar (e.g. 100 Gm) but would have to sell the entire unit. Thus, buying multiple units may make more sense.

However, by buying too small a unit, you will losing out on cost via the spread. Personally, I feel that minimally 50 Gm and above is a good size to begin. And as a investor, I would lean towards 100 Gm Argor Cast Bar.

Non-physical holdings

DescriptionWeightSellBuySpread
Gold certificate1 Kilocert6627465997277
Gold Savings A/C1 Gm66.2766.000.27
Silver Passbook A/C1 Oz24.4123.840.57

There is also the option of buying and selling gold, though not in the physical form.

The con of having non-physical holdings is that the cost is not a one-time cost. There are recurrent fees to consider.

I would personally not consider the above.

DescriptionFees and Service Charge
Gold Certificate $5 per certificate.
$72 per kilobar per annum, subject to GST.
Gold Savings A/C 0.25% p.a. of highest gold balance each month,
subject to monthly minimum charge of 0.12 grams of gold.
Silver Passbook A/C 0.375% p.a. of highest silver balance each month,
subject to a monthly minimum charge of 0.2 ounces of silver.

Do you invest in Gold as well, and have you done your due diligence?

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3 thoughts on “Investing in UOB Gold

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