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ECONOMICS
ICBC to buy London gold vault

ICBC to be first Chinese lender to own London vault


China´s ICBC Standard Bank, the world´s biggest bank by assets, has agreed to buy a massive vault in London. It will be the first Chinese lender to own a vault in London as it looks to grow its precious metals business.
Chi 17/5/2016 Send to a friend
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 Chinese bank ICBC said on Monday it is buying Barclays PLC´s precious-metals vault, in the latest move by the Chinese bank to increase its role in the market´s infrastructure

The vault, one of the largest in Europe, which is in a secret location and is being sold by Barclays, can hold up to 2,000 metric tons of gold, silver, platinum and palladium.

The deal will give ICBC more influence over trading, pricing and storage of precious metals.

"This is an exciting acquisition for the Bank," said Mark Buncombe, head of commodities at ICBC. "This enables us to better execute on our strategy to become one of the largest Chinese banks in the precious metals market."

No financial details were given but the deal is expected to be completed in July.

Last week, ICBC Standard Bank became the first new bank in over a decade to join the London precious metals clearing system, joining banks such as Barclays, HSBC PLC, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and UBS Group AG.

In early April, ICBC said it would join the twice-daily electronic auctions that set the LBMA Gold Price benchmark. The Bank of China and China Construction Bank already help set this benchmark.

Around 407 million ounces of gold was settled between members of the London Bullion Metal Association in March, down 1% year-over-year, according to data from the association.

China accounts for more than a quarter of global gold demand but trading of the yellow metal remains centred out of London and New York. Around $5tn (£3.5tn) in transactions were handled in London´s bullion market last year.

ICBC Standard Bank´s head of commodities Mark Buncombe said the purchase "enables us to better execute on our strategy to become one of the largest Chinese banks in the precious metals market".

It was opened in 2012 by Barclays, which says it is located within the M25 motorway that circles London.

The London bullion market has seven providers of vault storage services, including the Bank of England, HSBC and JPMorgan Chase.


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