By Peter Hobson
London - Members of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) traded at least 30.2 million ounces of gold worth US$36.9 billion each day last week, the LBMA said on Tuesday, presenting new data that gives the most accurate picture yet of the London market.
London is a global gold trading hub but most transactions are made in over-the-counter trades between banks, brokers and dealers who have been reluctant to reveal their activity.
With regulators pushing for greater transparency, LBMA members have begun reporting trades that settle in London and Zurich, another trading centre closely connected to London.
"For the first time in the long history of the London gold market its size is not guesswork but a reliable measurement," Macquarie analyst Matthew Turner said in a note accompanying the LBMA figures.
According to the LBMA, its members last week traded 95 million ounces of gold in spot contracts, 46.5 million ounces in swaps and forward contracts, 4.1 million ounces in options and 5.4 million ounces in leases, loans and deposits.
That gives a daily average total of 30.2 million ounces – or 939 tonnes, the equivalent of 74 London double-decker busses.
In silver, LBMA members traded 1.1 billion ounces in spot, 651.2 million ounces in swaps and forwards, 36.7 million ounces in options and 43.7 million ounces in leases, loans and deposits, giving a daily average total of 359.3 million ounces worth around US$5.2 billion.
The volumes are slightly higher than the previous best estimate for the size of the London market, clearing statistics which suggested gold worth around US$25 billion changed hands in the city each day.
They are also lower than futures volumes on US exchange CME Group, which last week were around 34 million ounces a day for gold and 552 million ounces a day for silver, according to Turner.
But the LBMA data is not a complete view of London trading.
LBMA members account for most but not all activity in London, and some members have yet to begin reporting their volumes.
The LBMA said it would publish the data once a week for around three months before moving to daily reporting. It also said it planned to begin publishing data for platinum and palladium.
The initiative is part of a wider move by the LBMA to make the gold market more transparent after pressure from regulators and accusations - some of which resulted in settlement payouts - that a number of banks and traders had manipulated prices.
Last year the LBMA began publishing monthly data showing how much gold and silver is stored in London's precious metals vaults - 7,684 tonnes of gold worth US$309 billion and 34,901 tonnes of silver worth US$18 billion, as of the end of June. - Nampa/Reuters