Hong Kong becomes first centre for gold trading in yuan

image captionChina has been seeking a bigger international role for its currency

Hong Kong has become the world's first place to offer gold trading in yuan, cementing its status as an offshore hub for the Chinese currency.

The Chinese Gold & Silver Exchange Society (CGSE) said it will offer offshore renminbi-denominated spot gold contracts to investors.

The move comes amid a push by Chinese authorities for a more international role for its currency.

Hong Kong is the world's third-largest gold trading centre.

"By attracting both local and international investors, the Renminbi Kilobar Gold is a significant step towards internationalizing the renminbi," said Haywood Cheung, president of CGSE.

Growing demand

The growth of the Chinese economy coupled with a push by the authorities for a more global role for their currency has seen an increased demand for yuan-denominated investment products.

At the same time Hong Kong has been trying to promote the city as the offshore trading hub for the yuan.

The demand has grown further by the increasing amount of offshore deposits of the Chinese currency in the city which rose 6.4% in August to 609bn yuan ($95bn; £60bn).

China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang has already announced plans to allow qualified foreign companies to buy up to 20bn yuan worth of Chinese stocks and bonds from Hong Kong.

Earlier this year, the Hong Kong stock exchange became the first bourse outside China to list yuan-denominated shares after Hui Xian, a real estate investment trust controlled by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, choose to sell its stock in the Chinese currency.

CGSE's Mr Cheung said the latest move to allow gold trading in yuan will provide further boost to Hong Kong's profile as an offshore hub.

"It also consolidates Hong Kong's position as an offshore renminbi centre by providing investors with a new alternative in leveraged trading of renminbi, which has until now been lacking," he said.

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