China has been an unofficial price-setter for most metals over the past decade. And this week, the country became an official participant in setting prices for one of the world’s most important precious metals markets.
That’s the London Bullion Market silver price. Where one of China’s largest banks just became a member of an elite group of players that controls fluctuations in this key metal.
CME Group, which runs the process for price setting of silver in London, said Sunday that China Construction Bank will officially join as a member of the silver price process. Putting it alongside existing participants HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, The Bank of Nova Scotia, Toronto Dominion Bank, and UBS.
These groups will now participate in price bids that go into setting the official London silver price. The first time that China will have direct influence on this process.
The expansion into China in itself is significant. And the entry of China Construction Bank into the market could also have some other important consequences for precious metals.
Especially when it comes to currencies. With the Chinese bank having said it will support the development of renminbi-denominated futures contracts for physical delivery in London.
Such products would represent the first time that physical silver can be bought and sold here in China’s home currency. A move that could reduce the longstanding relationship between the U.S. dollar and precious metals prices.
This is also a sign that precious metals markets are increasingly going international. Which makes sense, given that the world’s top consumers are places like China, India, Russia and Turkey.
This could be the start of further moves to increase metals markets influence in these parts of the world. Watch for more announcements, and for a possible breakdown in the USD/silver correlation as the renminbi contracts get going.