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New Gold ETF Set for Launch on NYSE

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- ETF Securities is adding one more gold ETF into the mix, but this time the gold is stored in Singapore.

ETFS Physical Asian Gold Shares is slated to debut on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) this Friday under the ticker symbol "AGOL" and ETF Securities is hoping that the lure of gold stored in Asia will help jumpstart investor demand.

The gold will be held by JPMorgan Chase (JPM) in a recently purchased vault in Singapore under the London Bullion Market Association's rules for Good Delivery.

The impetus for the ETF, says Will Rhind head of U.S. operations for the company, was new investors not wanting gold that was stored in London (SPDR Gold Shares (GLD); iShares Gold Trust (IAU)), the U.S. (IAU) or Switzerland (ETFS Physical Gold (SGOL)).

ETF Securities launched SGOL in September 2009 and currently has $1.13 billion in assets and holds 820,739.304 ounces of gold. These physically backed exchange traded products aren't like closed-end funds, they only buy gold if demand rises and they need to issue more shares. Roughly for every share you own, you own one-tenth of an ounce of gold, but this ratio deteriorates over time as the issuer must sell shares to pay for daily expenses.

Both gold ETFs will be audited bi-annually by an independent third party and all gold bar numbers are published daily on their website.

I asked Rhind on the conference call if two gold ETFs would be dilutive, basically are they overdoing it? Rhind maintains that storing gold in Asia would be "highly complementary" to its Swiss based ETF.

"Investors may [also] have reached particular internal holding limits and need other gold options that are not Europe or the U.S.," says Rhind. According to the company, Asian investors have also expressed interest in gold ETFs where the gold is stored locally.

It will be hard to guess how much demand will come from Asia but the region's thirst for gold and gold products has been on the rise, especially on any gold price correction. China alone imported 209.7 metric tons in the first 10 months of 2010, or 7.4 million ounces, and the country has been promoting gold investing and buying by offering different gold funds and giving investors access to overseas products.

Gold ETFs are not typically redeemed for the physical metal, however, as investors must redeem in whole lots, sometimes as much as 50,000 shares, or $6.8 million. Although you don't get to touch the metal, you are taxed like you do. Profits are subject to a 28% collectables fee.

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