China's central bank has agreed in principle to allow foreign members into the Shanghai Gold Exchange, marking an opening in China's precious metals trading market, according to the state news agency.

The Bank of China said Friday it has ordered the non-profit exchange to submit to it a regulatory plan for allowing foreign banks to qualify as members, reported Xinhua news.

Several foreign banks, including HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank have already approached the exchange, according to an SGE official.

The SGE organizes gold, silver and platinum exchange. It was approved by the State Council and founded by the People's Bank of China