Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Gold vs Cash in a Financial Crisis - Richard_Mills
2.Current Stock Market Rally Similarities To 1999 - Chris_Vermeulen
3.America See You On The Dark Side Of The Moon - Part2 - James_Quinn
4.Stock Market Trend Forecast Outlook for 2020 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Who Said Stock Market Traders and Investor are Emotional Right Now? - Chris_Vermeulen
6.Gold Upswing and Lessons from Gold Tops - P_Radomski_CFA
7.Economic Tribulation is Coming, and Here is Why - Michael_Pento
8.What to Expect in Our Next Recession/Depression? - Raymond_Matison
9.The Fed Celebrates While Americans Drown in Financial Despair - John_Mauldin
10.Hi-yo Silver Away! - Richard_Mills
Last 7 days
AMAZON (AMZN) - Primary AI Tech Stock Investing 2020 and Beyond - Video - 21st Jan 20
What Do Fresh U.S. Economic Reports Imply for Gold? - 21st Jan 20
Corporate Earnings Setup Rally To Stock Market Peak - 21st Jan 20
Gold Price Trend Forecast 2020 - Part1 - 21st Jan 20
How to Write a Good Finance College Essay  - 21st Jan 20
Risks to Global Economy is Balanced: Stock Market upside limited short term - 20th Jan 20
How Digital Technology is Changing the Sports Betting Industry - 20th Jan 20
Is CEOs Reputation Management Essential? All You Must Know - 20th Jan 20
APPLE (AAPL) AI Tech Stocks Investing 2020 - 20th Jan 20
FOMO or FOPA or Au? - 20th Jan 20
Stock Market SP500 Kitchin Cycle Review - 20th Jan 20
Why Intel i7-4790k Devils Canyon CPU is STILL GOOD in 2020! - 20th Jan 20
Stock Market Final Thrust Review - 19th Jan 20
Gold Trade Usage & Price Effect - 19th Jan 20
Stock Market Trend Forecast 2020 - Trend Analysis - Video - 19th Jan 20
Stock Trade-of-the-Week: Dorchester Minerals (DMLP) - 19th Jan 20
INTEL (INTC) Stock Investing in AI Machine Intelligence Mega-trend 2020 and Beyond - 18th Jan 20
Gold Stocks Wavering - 18th Jan 20
Best Amazon iPhone Case Fits 6s, 7, 8 by Toovren Review - 18th Jan 20
1. GOOGLE (Alphabet) - Primary AI Tech Stock For Investing 2020 - 17th Jan 20
ERY Energy Bear Continues Basing Setup – Breakout Expected Near January 24th - 17th Jan 20
What Expiring Stock and Commodity Market Bubbles Look Like - 17th Jan 20
Platinum Breaks $1000 On Big Rally - What's Next Forecast - 17th Jan 20
Precious Metals Set to Keep Powering Ahead - 17th Jan 20
Stock Market and the US Presidential Election Cycle  - 16th Jan 20
Shifting Undercurrents In The US Stock Market - 16th Jan 20
America 2020 – YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY (PART TWO) - 16th Jan 20
Yes, China Is a Currency Manipulator – And the U.S. Banking System Is a Metals Manipulator - 16th Jan 20
MICROSOFT Stock Investing in AI Machine Intelligence Mega-trend 2020 and Beyond - 15th Jan 20
Silver Traders Big Trend Analysis – Part II - 15th Jan 20
Silver Short-Term Pullback Before Acceleration Higher - 15th Jan 20
Gold Overall Outlook Is 'Strongly Bullish' - 15th Jan 20
AMD is Killing Intel - Best CPU's For 2020! Ryzen 3900x, 3950x, 3960x Budget, to High End Systems - 15th Jan 20
The Importance Of Keeping Invoices Up To Date - 15th Jan 20
Stock Market Elliott Wave Analysis 2020 - 14th Jan 20
Walmart Has Made a Genius Move to Beat Amazon - 14th Jan 20
Deep State 2020 – A Year Of Living Dangerously! - 14th Jan 20
The End of College Is Near - 14th Jan 20
AI Stocks Investing 2020 to Profit from the Machine Intelligence Mega-trend - Video - 14th Jan 20
Stock Market Final Thrust - 14th Jan 20
British Pound GBP Trend Forecast Review - 13th Jan 20
Trumpism Stock Market and the crisis in American social equality - 13th Jan 20
Silver Investors Big Trend Analysis for – Part I - 13th Jan 20
Craig Hemke Gold & Silver 2020 Prediction, Slams Biased Gold Naysayers - 13th Jan 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Nadeem Walayat Financial Markets Analysiis and Trend Forecasts

How to Fix the Gold Fix

Commodities / Gold and Silver 2013 Mar 16, 2013 - 11:43 AM GMT

By: Adrian_Ash

Commodities

US regulator the CFTC is anxious about the London gold fix. But what is the fix, and why...?

SO IS the London gold fix a fix? US derivatives-market regulators think it might be.

The CFTC is no doubt absolutely within its rights to question the use of certain prices as reference points (aka "marks") in US transactions. Joining the International Roundtable on Financial Benchmarks three weeks ago, its commissioner Bart Chilton said he also thought many other markets might deserve attention, too. But quite what a Washington commission overseeing the US futures markets might achieve – or hope to – as regards the London Fixings as a process, however, we can't imagine.


What is the London gold fix, and why does it exist? The fixing exists because, in the physical bullion market, there isn't any single price at any one time. Instead, all the different bullion banks and dealers quote their own prices direct to their clients. So the deals they strike are unique, with no centralized "clearing house" or "recognized exchange" reporting those deals as some kind of official price.

This is very different to a formal stock market or derivatives exchange. It makes valuing gold (in central bank vaults, say, or jewelry stockpiles) difficult. It also means that less active traders – such as gold miners, or industrial users – can't be confident they got "true" market price.

Hence the fix, and hence it's name. The fixing is essentially a snapshot of where the market stands for gold at 10:30am and 3pm (and for silver at midday) in London, heart of the world's physical bullion trade.

To take that snapshot, the biggest bullion banks look at their outstanding client orders, net off the buyers and sellers, and then get together to agree a price which clears what remains. So make no mistake – the fix is NOT a notional price.

Real supply and demand from real sellers and buyers creates the fix, and real business is done at that price (lots of it, too). That makes the fixing very different from the interbank Libor lending rate.

Libor, as you'll recall, is merely reported by the big banks. It doesn't necessarily match interest rates which anyone has been charged or paid. Which clearly opens the door to fraud, manipulation and – four or five years after regulators catch onto the scandal – big fines for offenders.

The London bullion fixes, in contrast, offer genuine price discovery. No, it isn't formally regulated by government (oh horror!). Yes, the fix is done behind closed doors (gasp!). But the banks' clients can enter orders to buy (or sell) at the Fix if it is below (or above) a certain level, and they can be updated throughout the process, too. It also follows and then leads the "spot price" quoted in live wholesale trading. But that single "spot price" doesn't exist, remember. The fix exists to fill that gap. And running since at least 1919 (and probably before, history fans) it has for almost a century acted as the global benchmark where none existed before.

Buy wholesale gold for Hong Kong delivery, and you'll be quoted the London price plus (or minus) a premium for delivery. Ask a central bank the value of its reserves or a stockist the value of its holdings, and they'll refer to the PM gold fix in their answer. Sell a gold mining company a long-term forward contract so they can hedge their exposure to prices today or raise capital to finance tomorrow's drilling, and the PM London gold fix will be your obvious reference.

You want another? How might this more-perfect benchmark be achieved exactly? No doubt communism is a long way from Bart Chilton's intentions. But judging from the CFTC commissioner's comments to date, the concern seems to be that a "government, quasi-government or appropriate not-for-profit entity should oversee" how prices are reached.

Soviet Russia tried that for a while. Didn't end well.

By Adrian Ash
BullionVault.com

Gold price chart, no delay   |   Buy gold online at live prices

Formerly City correspondent for The Daily Reckoning in London and a regular contributor to MoneyWeek magazine, Adrian Ash is the editor of Gold News and head of research at www.BullionVault.com , giving you direct access to investment gold, vaulted in Zurich , on $3 spreads and 0.8% dealing fees.

(c) BullionVault 2013

Please Note: This article is to inform your thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best place for your money, and any decision you make will put your money at risk. Information or data included here may have already been overtaken by events – and must be verified elsewhere – should you choose to act on it.

Adrian Ash Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules