China Now Involved In LBMA Gold Price, Planning Yuan-backed Gold Fix
China is moving in on the gold market. Last week, a Chinese bank was finally added to the LBMA gold price last week, and this week China revealed that it's looking at launching a yuan-denominated gold fix by the end of the year.
Since the LBMA gold price replaced the London gold fix back in March, China has been a point of contention. Initially investors were curious about whether a Chinese bank would be included in the LBMA gold price on the day of its launch. Writing at the time, Mineweb's Lawrence Williams said that some market watchers believed that if that happened, the door would be open for "China's powerful state-owned banking monopoly to ... control the gold bullion market." Ultimately, a Chinese bank was not included in the LBMA gold price when it launched — the six participants were Barclays (LSE: BARC), HSBC (LSE:HSBA), the Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX:BNS), Societe Generale (EPA:GLE), UBS Group (NYSE:UBS) and Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE:GS). The first four firms were members of the London gold fix. However, the roster of LBMA gold price participants didn't stay at six for long. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) was added in March to skepticism from those who'd hoped the new benchmarking process would be more transparent than its predecessor. Williams quipped upon the announcement, "[i]f any bank selection could be guaranteed to inflame those within the gold bull community who preach gold price manipulation, it would be the addition of JP Morgan, following that of Goldman Sachs and UBS, over the original four members of the old London Gold Fixing panel." He also drew attention to the fact that the LBMA gold price still included no Chinese banks. "Until the benchmarking process participants are widened to include entities from outside the Western banking elite, the process will remain suspect in the eyes of those who feel that there are no level playing fields in the global financial markets - if indeed there ever were!" he said.