The China unit of investment bank JP Morgan has won approval to become a trading member of the Shanghai Gold Exchange, the eighth foreign financial institute to obtain such membership, said the exchange on its Web stie (www.sge.com.cn).

Other foreign trading members include Credit Suisse , HSBC , Standard Chartered , Bank of Nova Scotia , ANZ , United Overseas Bank and Barclays .

The pace of liberalisation in China's gold sector is closely watched by foreign players as it is regarded as a precursor to an opening up of the vibrant base metals sector, whereby foreign participation on futures trading is strictly restricted by regulators.

The Shanghai Gold Exchange is China's main precious metals bourse, trading spot gold, silver and platinum as well as spot deferred contracts in gold and silver.