June 20 (Bloomberg) -- China, the world’s biggest gold user, will start international gold trading in Shanghai’s free- trade zone in the final quarter of this year, according to a city government official.
“We will aim to commence trading in the fourth quarter,” Zheng Yang, head of Shanghai’s financial services office, said today in a conference in the city. The nation’s central bank earlier this week approved the trading platform to be included in the zone’s banking system.
China, also the world’s largest bullion producer, is seeking to step up its presence in the global gold market at a time when the industry is discussing changes to the century-old fixing benchmark in London used to trade and value the metal. The country overtook India as the largest user last year as the biggest price drop in more than three decades spurred purchases, the World Gold Council said in February.
“The new platform is to attract foreign investors and to get China more influence in the global bullion market,” said Liu Xu, an analyst at Capital Futures Co. in Beijing.
Qualified investors can open accounts with the four designated banks including Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. to trade gold in the area, the People’s Bank of China’s Shanghai head office said June 18.
The free-trade zone is a testing ground for liberalizing interest rates and currency usage. The Shanghai Gold Exchange, the country’s biggest physical bourse for the precious metal, is considering allowing the use of offshore yuan in gold trading in the zone, Bloomberg News reported on June 4.
The metal for immediate delivery fell 0.9 percent to $1,308.24 an ounce by 4:11 p.m. in Beijing, trimming this year’s gains to 8.9 percent, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. Bullion of 99.99 percent purity on the Shanghai Gold Exchange has climbed 11 percent in 2014.
--With assistance from Glenys Sim in Singapore and Alfred Cang in Shanghai.