China National Is Country's First WGC Member as Market Grows

China National Gold Group Corp. became the country’s first member of the World Gold Council as the nation’s bullion mining and trading expands.

The company also joined the council’s board, according to a statement on the producer-funded group’s website. The WGC has 18 members, including Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s largest producer.

“The rapid expansion of China’s gold mining industry has been astonishing,” Randall Oliphant, the council’s chairman, said in the statement. “The country’s growing consumer base combined with easy access to gold is reflected in the remarkable growth in gold demand in the past decade, which is set to continue.”

China’s gold production jumped sevenfold over the past three decades, Oliphant said. The government lifted a ban on trading and opened the Shanghai Gold Exchange in 2002 and the country now vies with India as the biggest buyer. The council has said that China’s bullion consumption will expand by at least 20 percent by the end of 2017 amid rising wealth.

China also has a presence in setting daily bullion prices that are used by central banks to mining companies to value and trade metal. Bank of China Ltd. in June joined the LBMA Gold Price, the benchmark that replaced the century-old London gold fixing.

Bullion for immediate delivery has declined 5.2 percent to $1,123.15 an ounce this year in London as the outlook for higher U.S. interest rates and a stronger dollar cut demand for an alternative investment. The metal reached a five-year low in July.

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