Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) on Wednesday debuted its precious metals trading unit, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Shanghai-based unit will finance, invest, and lease in the global precious-metals markets. It will focus on gold in particular, with a view to capitalizing on recent spikes in the price of gold futures. Gold futures traded in New York and London topped US$1000 per ounce on Tuesday in response to a weakening US dollar. Gold future prices also rallied this past week in China, leading some analysts to speculate that the government was encouraging citizens to purchase gold as an investment. Others disagreed, pointing out that most of the trading was going on between funds and bigger investors. The rally is expected to ebb after riding a period of dollar weakness and equity strength. China surpassed South Africa in 2008 as the world’s largest supplier of gold. China’s gold production rose 14% year-on-year to 120.24 metric tons between January and May.
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