The secretive world of European over-the-counter precious metals trading is coming out of the shadows. For the first time, the London Bullion Market Association has begun releasing weekly trading data, shedding light on a market whose size analysts appear to have grossly overestimated. An average of $37 billion of gold traded each day between major banks and dealers in London, as well as its closely-related market in Zurich, during the second week of November, equivalent to 30 million ounces. That’s just a fraction of what the World Gold Council had estimated, and less than the value of gold traded in New York at the commodity exchange known as COMEX, which traded 34 million ounces during the same week. Most market players had assumed London was indisputably the world’s largest market.
The data “will raise eyebrows,” conceded Ruth Crowell, CEO of the London Bullion Market Association, in a Bloomberg interview. But, she cautioned the picture may change as more trading data is released. “This is just a week’s snapshot,” she said. Additionally, some members of the London Bullion Market Association have not yet begun reporting their trades.
After LBMA has collected three months’ worth of data, it intends to begin releasing daily trading, which is standard policy for commodity and equity markets.
Revelation of the size of the London market is part of an effort to improve transparency after allegations that some member firms of the London Bullion Market Association were manipulating prices. Such concerns over transparency are good reason to purchase gold directly from a trustworthy dealer like Nationwide Coin & Bullion Reserve.