[SHANGHAI] China, the largest gold producer and consumer, is simplifying procedures for cross-border trade, a move that may speed up imports.
The central bank and customs will allow companies that have "frequent imports and exports" of gold and gold products to apply for a single permit that can be used in as many as 12 shipments, the People's Bank of China said. The trial to simplify the rules takes effect June 1 and applies to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Nanjing and Shenzhen, it said in a statement.
Gold consumption in China has been expanding as rising incomes and economic growth boost purchases of jewelry, bars and coins. Demand outstrips domestic supply and the mainland imports bullion from Switzerland, Hong Kong and other locations.
The central bank also adds to holdings every month to diversify its foreign-exchange reserves. Prices have jumped 20 per cent this year on the Shanghai Gold Exchange, about the same pace as the increase in global rates.
"The move will reduce paperwork and speed up gold imports because previously importers had to apply for an overall import quota from the central bank and then report and register every single shipment," Jiang Shu, chief analyst at Shandong Gold Financial Holdings Capital Management Co, said by phone from Shanghai on Wednesday.
China introduced a twice-daily gold price fixing in Shanghai last month in a bid to establish a regional benchmark and bolster its global influence.