HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Hong Kong is pulling all its physical gold holdings from depositories in London, transferring them to a high-security depository newly built at the city's airport, in a move that won praise from local traders Thursday.
The facility, industry professionals said, would support Hong Kong's emergence as a Swiss-style trading hub for bullion and would lessen London's status as a key settlement-and-storage center. [...]
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, which functions as the territory's unofficial central bank, will transfer its gold reserves stored in other vaults to the depository later this year, the Hong Kong government said in an earlier statement.
Traders said the new depository facility could also foster new financial products, such as exchange-traded funds based on precious metals.
Martin Hennecke, a financial advisor with the Hong Kong-based Tyche Group Ltd., said that could be appealing to regional central banks unnerved after watching the global financial system teeter on verge of implosion last year.
"Central banks are increasingly aware of the importance of having gold reserves at time of financial crisis and having it easily available at their own disposal," he said.
Marketing efforts will be launched to convince Asian central banks to transfer their gold reserves to the Hong Kong facility, according to reports citing Raymond Lai, finance director with the Hong Kong Airport Authority.
Efforts will also be made to reach out to commodity exchanges, banks, precious-metals refiners and ETF providers, the reports said.
Management firm Value Partners planned to launch an ETF gold fund that will use Hong Kong instead of London as a repository for the gold backing the fund, local reports said Thursday.
Hong Kong recalls gold reserves from London
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