Acquisition of gold and other hard assets is being encouraged by the Chinese government on many levels. Perhaps they are well aware of the debasement game being played by world central banks and see hard assets in Chinese possession as a defensive strategy.
The recent purchase of the London Metals exchange (LME) by the Hong Kong Exchange is just the latest step in what appears to be an ongoing process. The LME is the one major exchange, other than HK, outside of China, which trades physical gold (COMEX is only paper contracts). This may be a good way to gain better access to the physical gold market (as well as other key metals).
"The deal could immediately prop up HKEx to become one of the major global metals and commodities exchanges," Hong Kong Exchanges Chief Executive Charles Li said.
LME accounts globally for 80% of trade in nonferrous metals such as copper and aluminum, as well as other industrial metals.