National Jeweler Network

Market Developments

Market favors auction system to replace silver ‘fix’

By Brecken Branstrator

June 09, 2014

London--Players in the silver market want an electronic auction-based solution to replace the price “fix” system that will end in August, according to a survey done by the London Bullion Market Association.

The London Silver Market Fixing Limited announced last month that it would cease to administer the silver “fixing”--the method of setting silver’s per-ounce price via a conference call with three banks each day--at the close of the business day on Aug. 14.

Until then, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Bank of Nova Scotia will continue to set the price of silver during their daily conference call, a process that has been in effect for 117 years.

Once the announcement was made that it would come to an end, the London Bullion Market Association, or LBMA, launched an online survey to gain market consultation on the London silver daily price mechanism. More than 440 participants took the survey, which ran from May 16 to 30.

The general consensus, in addition to favoring an electronic auction-based system, was that the new solution should also be tradeable with an increased number of direct participants.

Midway through the survey, when they began analyzing the results, LBMA CEO Ruth Crowell said, “Market comments received so far indicate the importance of a daily London silver spot price as well as the need for transparency and wider participation in any future price discovery mechanism.”

Final results showed that when asked how useful the current London silver price mechanism is, the average answer from participants was a 7.5 out of 10. About 64 percent of participants said that they use it daily while 24 percent use it periodically. 

Seventy-two percent think that the silver price discovery method is sufficient and the remaining 28 percent said that they don’t think it is.

As a result of the survey, the LBMA has launched a request for proposals from all those companies that had expressed an interest in becoming the price administrator for silver.

The association said that they would then hold a seminar on June 20 to allow LBMA members to discuss and provide feedback on the proposals they have received.

According to Reuters, a number of organizations, including the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the London Metal Exchange, have said that they are working with the LBMA and the industry to find an electronic-based solution.

Kitco.com also recently launched its own global silver fix price network, where it publishes four fixing prices--the 10 a.m. New York Silver Fix, the 10 a.m. U.K. Silver Fix, the 10 a.m. Mumbai Silver Fix and the 10 a.m. Hong Kong Silver Fix.