Gold futures come back to the London Metal Exchange

Gold investors will soon be able to buy and sell the precious metal through a London-based futures contract, as the London Metal Exchange, the World Gold Council and a group of banks and trading firms have announced a new venture, called LMEprecious.

The new trading platform, due to launch in the first half of 2017, aims to prepare the world’s largest bullion hub for new regulations and increased scrutiny of price setting.

LMEprecious, due to launch in the first half of 2017, aims to prepare the world’s largest bullion hub for new regulations and increased scrutiny of price setting.

Currently, about 75% of global bullion dealing takes place in the London, mostly done directly between buyers and sellers. LMEprecious will change that by introducing centrally-cleared gold and silver contracts in the first half of next year, and later add platinum and palladium, the LME and the gold industry lobby group said in the statement.

The new futures contracts, the venture’s backers say, are designed to complement London’s over-the-counter gold and silver market and will include contracts for spot, daily and monthly futures, options and calendar spread contracts.

They are being supported by five investment banks, including Goldman Sachs, Société Générale, China’s ICBC Standard Bank and a proprietary trader called OSTC. However, London’s two largest bullion banks, HSBC and JPMorgan, are not backing the venture.

The LME’s previous attempt at trading gold lasted only three years and the platform — called London Gold Futures Market — ended up closing shop in 1985 due to lack of domestic investor and speculator interest.