Korea to kick off physical gold trading in March

South Korea has set March of 2014 as the date it will open its touted gold exchange market, in an effort to improve global transparency in trading and generate new financial opportunities, Bloomberg reports.

The move comes as the country learned its citizens hold seven times as much gold as the central bank, or over 700 metric tons. The majority of them, says the government, trades gold on the black market as a way to evade import duty and value-added tax.

To make the market easily accessible to retail investors, The Korea Exchange (KRX) will establish a trading system similar to the main bourse and the secondary KOSDAQ market.

Investors will be allowed to make investments between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., with the trading volume of transaction standing at 1 gram. Withdrawals, however, will be allowed only in gold bars of kilogram units, inscribed with a KRX mark.

The KRX also plans to provide real-time market prices along with other global indexes related to gold.

The exchange will begin its test-run on Feb. 10, officially open to investors on March 24.