UPDATE 1-Silver market reboots century-old price benchmark

Fri Aug 15, 2014 6:42am EDT
 
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* First of series of precious metals benchmark overhauls

* Not all interested participants ready by Friday -LBMA

* Will take form of online 'equilibrium auction' (Adds fix history, London market size, new participants)

By Clara Denina and Jan Harvey

LONDON, Aug 15 (Reuters) - The silver market enters a new electronic era in benchmarking on Friday after a regulatory drive for more transparency in price setting brought the 117-year-old silver 'fix' to an end.

The final conference call took place on Thursday between banker-dealers in the $3 billion a day London silver market in the old process of fixing the benchmark silver price.

Driving the change has been the increased scrutiny of precious metals 'fixes' by European and U.S. watchdogs in the wake of benchmark manipulation in other financial markets.

The fixing of the silver price in London started in 1897, predating the gold process by 22 years, in the offices of Sharps & Wilkins, and also involving Mocatta & Goldsmid, Pixley & Abell and Samuel Montagu.

At that time, the cash price of silver was 27-9/16 old pennies. At 1009 GMT on Friday, the silver price in sterling terms stood at 11.91 pounds per ounce.   Continued...