Three more banks have been permitted to import gold to China, as the country's redoubles its efforts to attain pricing power of the commodity.
The news, reported first by Reuters, comes as Shanghai's international bullion exchange is on the verge of launching – a flagship initiative in China's attempts to wrest gold pricing power away from London.
Currently, the setting of the gold benchmark is determined twice daily on the London bullion market by Barclays, HSBC, ScotiaMocatta (the bullion banking division of Scotiabank), and Société Générale. China – along with Singapore – has been looking for ways to muscle in on the so-called 'gold fix'.
Opening the import market to three additional banks – Standard Chartered, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, and China Merchants Bank – shows the Chinese government is willing to show some flexibility in order to do so.
The decision to permit a foreign lender is even more significant and, along with the fast-developing Shanghai Special Economic Zone, demonstrates the ongoing liberalisation of China's banking and commodity networks.
With the country's decision to permit gold-backed exchange-traded funds last year, as well as extending gold trading hours, its ambition of becoming a price discovery centre is growing closer.
Standard Chartered becomes just the third foreign bank after HSBC and ANZ to be permitted to import gold to China.