OT China may sell silver stockpile

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JANUARY 09, 14:11 EST

China May Sell Silver Stockpile

SHANGHAI, China (AP)  China's central bank will sell part of its silver stockpile abroad as part of steps to liberalize its domestic silver market, an official newspaper said Sunday.

China opened its first communist-era silver exchange on Tuesday in Shanghai. The exchange is meant to set a market price for silver, ending the practice of having the central bank control price and supply.

As part of that shift, China is selling silver bought over the past five years to absorb excess domestic production, the China Daily said. It said the bank had spent some $12 million annually buying up a total of 2,900 tons of silver during that time.

The stockpiles are becoming a burden to the bank, which wants to store less of its assets in silver, said Pan Jun, an official of the bank's Currency, Gold and Silver Administration.

The report said the bank began carrying out the decision Jan. 1 but didn't specify whether it had sold any silver yet.

During the 1990s, China produced more than 1,450 tons of silver a year, while consuming about 900 tons, according to official figures.

Foreign observers regard the end of price controls on silver as a step toward similar liberalization for gold, whose domestic price also is controlled by the central bank.

Letting foreigners into its market for the two metals would require China to let its currency trade freely. Currently, the yuan is convertible only for trade and foreign currency reserves are strictly controlled.

-- Martin Thompson (Martin@aol.com), January 09, 2000


Now what do they want?????

-- Squid (ItsDark@down.here), January 10, 2000.

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