In what is being widely seen as a major step in globalizing the Shanghai gold market, the People's Bank of China yesterday admitted five major foreign banks as members of Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE).
The five banks are HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, both from Britain, UBS of Switzerland, Bank of Nova Scotia of Canada and France's Societe Generale.
The central bank is also reported to be considering plans to loosen the restrictions on gold imports and exports.
Opening SGE membership to foreign banks is expected to increase the liquidity of the domestic gold market and bring in foreign expertise that can promote the healthy development of the market in the long run. The move could also lead to greater interaction with the international market, leading to greater convergence of prices.
Roland Wang, general manager of World Gold Council, Greater China, said: "It's a natural trend for China to gradually merge with the international market. A closer tie between China's gold market and the international market would be established, increasing China's importance in gold price discovery in the international market."
Richard Yorke, president and CEO of HSBC Bank (China), said: "SGE membership will enable us to share our international experiences and expand our participation in China's financial markets. We hope membership of the exchange will offer us trading opportunities and enable us to broaden our services.
"This is another exciting development in China's financial markets and HSBC China is pleased to remain at the forefront of this new market development."
Cai Zhenwei, director of the gold business department of Bank of China, told China Daily: "The entry of major foreign banks will help attract more investors to the gold market. The market will benefit from the increase in liquidity."
Despite the anticipated increase in competition with the entry of foreign banks, SGE's members remain positive.
"The foreign banks, with more expertise and experience in trading in the international market, can bring new ideas," said Zhang Wei, director of the gold business department with Shanghai Bank.
Nearly all major domestic banks, including Bank of China and Shanghai Bank, are members of SGE.
(China Daily June 8, 2007)