COLUMN-Will LME consolidate or fragment London’s bullion market? – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – August 10, 2016)

Aug 10 The London Metal Exchange (LME) has announced the launch next year of a suite of precious metals contracts, starting with gold and silver and eventually encompassing platinum and palladium.

It’s not the first time the LME has ventured into the opaque world of London’s bullion trade. Back in 1980 Robert Guy, director of N.M. Rothschild, one of the five bullion houses that dominated the city’s gold trading, announced the formation of a joint venture with the LME to trade gold.

“We know that the London Metal Exchange (…) will have a very positive contribution to make” to what would become the London Gold Futures Market, he said. (“Gold – A World Survey”, Rae Weston).

Alas, those great expectations came to nothing. The venture was laid to rest five years later due to a lack of liquidity. Two attempts at silver trading, one in the 1980s and one in the 1990s, fared no better.

So will it be second, or in the case of silver, third time lucky for an exchange which still dominates the global base metals trading space? Much has changed in the intervening years and the LME’s unique modus operandi looks a good fit for a bullion market being reshaped by regulation.

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