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.