Bank of China Joins Auction Setting Gold Prices in London

Singapore (Jun 16)  Bank of China Ltd. will become the first Chinese bank to join the auction process that sets gold prices in the London market.

The bank, along with seven other lenders, will start participating in the twice-daily electronic auction, according to a statement from the London Bullion Market Association on Tuesday. While China is the world’s largest bullion buyer, it has never directly played a role in determining London gold prices.

The addition of a Chinese bank is another sign that China is increasing its influence in gold and currency markets worldwide as the country seeks to make the yuan a viable competitor to the dollar. The Bank of China’s part in the gold auction shows the nation is stepping into the global market, the lender wrote in a press release today.

“They want to be on the top table in all areas of international trade and this is no different,” Ross Norman, chief executive officer of dealer Sharps Pixley Ltd., said by phone. “They want to be represented in locations where benchmark prices are derived, and they have demonstrated that by signing up for the fix.”

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Societe Generale SA, Bank of Nova Scotia, HSBC Holdings Plc and Barclays Plc are among the lenders that currently participate in the auction. Bank of China will join on June 22, Intercontinental Exchange Inc. said in an e-mail.

ICE Benchmark Administration, which runs the price-setting process, expects more firms to join soon, according to President Finbarr Hutcheson. It occurs at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. London time, with buy and sell orders submitted electronically in rounds until a price is found.

Source: Bloomberg