The world’s biggest bank by assets just bought a secret gold vault in London.
China’s ICBC Standard Bank agreed to purchase one of Europe’s largest gold vaults from Barclays, according to Bloomberg.
The deal is expected to be completed in July, although no additional financial details were given.
The vault is in a “secret” location and can hold up to 2,000 metric tons of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. It was opened by Barclays back in 2012.
The BBC reports that ICBC Standard Bank’s head of commodities Mark Buncombe said purchasing the vault “enables us to better execute on our strategy to become one of the largest Chinese banks in the precious metals market”.
Notably, China’s appetite for gold seems to have grown over the last few months.
Back in April, the country launched a gold price benchmark in order to have greater influence over the price of the commodity, according to the Financial Times. This could eventually reduce the influence of the London gold price, wrote the FT’s Henry Sanderson.
Moreover, the World Gold Council reports that inflows into gold-backed ETFs in China have risen “exponentially” in recent months.
“Although they still only account for a very small proportion of the 1,974t held in these products globally, Chinese gold-backed ETFs on aggregate attracted 11.1t of inflows during the first quarter, more than doubling their holdings in the process,” according to the WGC.
“Huaan Yifu Gold ETF surpassed all other funds in Asia: total holdings at quarter-end were 13.5t, up 10.3t from the end of 2015. Although institutional investors were reportedly the driving force behind this flood of inflows, retail investors were also a considerable contributor, looking to gold for diversification and wealth protection,” the WGC added.
Gold is up 0.2% at $1,276.45 per ounce as of 1:15 p.m. ET.
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