Is the price of gold manipulated Libor-style?

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is trying to determine whether or not the daily setting of gold and silver prices is subject to manipulation in a way similar to the fixing of the Libor index.

The Wall Street Journal and the Guardian reported yesterday that the CFTC is discussing the level of transparency involved in the gold price setting process that involves two daily teleconferences with five of the world's major banks: Barclays, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Scotiabank and Société Générale.

The silver price is done the same way but with only the involvement of the latter three banks. The prices agreed upon at these daily meetings are then used to set prices worldwide.

While no formal investigation is underway, CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton delicately expressed suspicion that Libor-style manipulation is not isolated to interest rates, calling other benchmarks "legit areas of inquiry."