BEIJING, June 20 (Xinhua) -- The People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, announced on Monday that it will issue more gold and silver commemorative coins featuring the giant pandas to meet soaring demands for precious metals in the country.
PBOC said the maximum circulation of the one-ounce gold coins with a face value of 500 yuan (77.3 U.S. dollars) will be raised to 500,000 from 300,000 previously set at the end of last year.
The maximum circulation of four other gold coins with different gold purity and face values ranging from 20 yuan to 200 yuan will increase to 600,000 each set from the previous 200,000.
Also, the maximum issuance of one-ounce silver coins with a face value of 10 yuan each will double to 6 million from the previous 3 million, according to PBOC. Chinese investors have rushed to buy precious metals this year to hedge against rising inflation, where the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, shot up to 5.5 percent year-on-year in May. The CPI rose 5 percent in the first quarter and 5.3 percent in April.
The benchmark interest rate of one-year deposits stood at 3.25 percent after the central bank raised the interest rate twice this year to curb inflation.
In contrast, the price of gold has so far risen by about 9.4 percent from the end of last year, making precious metals more attractive to investors.