UPDATE 2-China launches yuan gold fix to boost power in global bullion market
* Benchmark price to be set twice daily
* Bullion industry long dominated by London
* China top producer, importer, consumer of gold (Adds afternoon price, comments by participant, production figures)
By A. Ananthalakshmi and Ruby Lian
SINGAPORE/SHANGHAI, April 19 (Reuters) - Top gold consumer China launched a yuan-denominated gold benchmark on Tuesday, in an ambitious move to exert more control over pricing of the metal and influence in the global bullion market.
The benchmark is a culmination of efforts by China over the last few years to reform its domestic gold market, attempting to gain a bigger say in the bullion industry, long dominated by London where the global spot benchmark price is set.
As the world's top producer, importer and consumer of gold, China has baulked at depending on a dollar price in international transactions, and believes its market weight should entitle it to set the price of gold.
The new benchmark may not be an immediate threat to London, but with time and full convertibility of the yuan it could become widely used and help China's efforts to boost the global use of its currency.
The Chinese benchmark price, derived from a 1 kg-contract traded by 18 participants on the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE), was set at 256.92 yuan per gram ($1,234.49 per ounce) in Tuesday's morning session. Continuación...