UPDATE 2-LME takes charge of London platinum, palladium "fixes", eyes on gold

Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:29am EDT
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* LME will set platinum, palladium benchmarks from Dec. 1

* Price will be determined via electronic platform LMEbullion (Adds comments from London Metal Exchange, details)

By Clara Denina , Jan Harvey and A. Ananthalakshmi

SINGAPORE/LONDON, Oct 16 (Reuters) - The London Metal Exchange, owned by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd , will take charge of London's platinum and palladium pricing, also known as "fixes", from Dec. 1, replacing a teleconference with an electronic platform.

The unexpected move marks a stunning comeback for the LME, which failed to secure administration of the century-old London silver price benchmark - the first to go electronic in a wave of reform for precious metals pricing procedures.

It also puts the world's biggest metals marketplace back in contention to take over the much larger gold benchmark.

"We built (our electronic platform) primarily to participate platinum and palladium but the gold fixing process is very similar, so what we said is that if the market would like to use (it) for gold as well then we are very happy to discuss that," the LME Head of Business Development Matthew Chamberlain said in a phone interview with Reuters.

The platinum and palladium benchmarks were established in 1989, when banks chose to agree a price twice a day on which their customers - producers, consumers and investors - could trade the metal and value their holdings.

This unified the way all precious metals markets set their benchmarks. The gold fix began in 1919 and silver back in 1897.   Continued...