The world’s largest bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank Standard Bank of China (ICBC) was reclassified as a spot Market Making Member of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) institution on April 5. The news was shared on the LBMA website by Executive Director, Mark Byrne. Under loose supervision by the Bank of England, the LBMA is where wholesale over-the-counter market trading of gold and silver takes place. This important development indicates China’s intent to become a serious player in the global markets.
Since the LBMA has approved the Chinese Bank ICBC as a Market Maker within its organization, it will now be able to set its own gold and silver prices through the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE). The SGE is one of the two independently operated stock exchanges in China—the other is the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. The SGE is a self-regulatory, membership-based legal entity that organizes the trading of gold, silver and other precious metals while providing services for its members and investors.
To qualify as a LBMA Market Maker, an organization is required to offer two-way quotes in gold and silver to other London Market Makers throughout each business day. Current membership in the LBMA is now146, with 67 ordinary members, 66 associate members and 13 Market Makers.
The ICBC recently increased the products and services it provides, adding asset allocation and risk-hedging to its offerings. By the end of last year, the world’s largest bank grew 20 percent compared to January 1, serving over 29 million customers who bought precious metals. For two consecutive years, the Financial Times named the ICBC the “Precious Metal Trading Bank of the Year in China,” while it was ranked the “Best Precious Metal Trading Bank in China” by London-based Euromoney magazine for four years in a row.
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