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China sets up gold fund as part of Silk Road initiative: media

[SHANGHAI] China has established a fund that is expected to raise about US$16 billion for gold-related investment as part of its "Silk Road" initiative to develop trade and transport infrastructure across Asia and beyond, official media reported.

The fund, which will be run by a new company to be set up by gold producers and financial institutions, is expected to raise an estimated 100 billion yuan (S$21.6 billion) in three phases, Shanghai Securities News reported at the weekend.

Two leading gold producers, Shandong Gold Group, the parent of Shandong Gold Mining Co Ltd, and Shaanxi Gold Group will take stakes of 35 per cent and 25 per cent respectively, with the rest owned by financial institutions, the newspaper said.

The fund's activities could take in the launch of gold-backed exchange-traded funds and buying stakes in listed gold companies and mining firms.

President Xi Jinping said earlier this year he hoped annual trade with the countries involved in Beijing's plan to create a modern Silk Road would surpass US$2.5 trillion in a decade.

China is the world's biggest producer of gold and a top consumer of the precious metal.

In 2014 it was the second-biggest consumer of gold jewellery, bars and coins and it took the first place from India in the first quarter of this year, according to the World Gold Council.