* Rusal and Alcoa want LME to release data in line with U.S.
* Aluminium producers also seek more detailed warehouse data
* LME listens to market views, to keep transparency top
By Eric Onstad
LONDON, Sept 11 The world's two biggest
aluminium producers are calling on the London Metal Exchange
(LME) to boost transparency by releasing more detailed data on
long and short positions as well as about who are holding
Russia's United Company Rusal and U.S.-based Alcoa
are urging the LME, the world's biggest marketplace for
industrial metals, to match its U.S. rival the CME Group
in providing data about the make-up of investors positions.
"There is a need for greater transparency in the London
Metal Exchange's disclosure of commercial and non-commercial
positions on the exchange," Oleg Mukhamedshin, Rusal's deputy
chief executive, told Reuters on Wednesday.
"The LME could provide appropriate access to its existing
data that would transform the way we understand how the
aluminium market is now working."
Rusal is the world's biggest producer of the metal used in
transport and packaging and Alcoa is No. 2.
In the United States, the Commodity Futures Trading
Commission (CFTC) requires exchanges to release detailed
positioning information. The resulting Commitment of Traders
weekly reports are closely watched by investors.
In base metals, the U.S. data includes copper, but that only
covers a fraction of the global market because CME volumes are
much smaller than those of the LME. The CME does not have
contracts in other base metals such as aluminium and zinc.
The LME, which is owned by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing
, said by email: "We welcome and will continue to
listen to and consider market views, and we will continue to
make market transparency a top priority."
Currently, the LME provides open interest data and limited
long-short positioning data showing when large positions emerge,
but it does not show whether positions are held by speculators
or industrial interests.
Knowing the level of speculative positions in essential in a
market where LME trading volumes last year in aluminium
derivatives was more than 30 times higher than industrial demand
for the metal, Mukhamedshin said.
Alcoa is also pressing the LME to release more data. An
Alcoa spokeswoman said the company had called for more
transparency during hearings in warehousing by a U.S. Senate
subcommittee in July.
"The dramatic increase in trading volume on the LME in
recent years is predominantly due to the increased trading
activity from financial investors who do not participate in the
underlying physical markets," Alcoa said in a statement at the
"Improved transparency into the sources of trading on the
LME... is an essential first step toward improving confidence in
Rusal and Alcoa also called for the LME to release more
information regarding warehouse inventory data.
"We also believe that transparency in reporting also needs
to be applied to the reporting of warehouse stock by company in
each LME warehouse location as well as the category of owner of
metal placed on warrant," Mukhamedshin said.
The LME releases daily data on the tonnage arriving and
departing at each warehouse location.
The metals warehousing business has stoked controversy as
warehouse firms have made money by building up stocks and
allowing queues to grow for clients seeking to withdraw
material, all the time charging rent for storage.
Complaints by consumers about queues at warehouses and high
premiums have led to a string of U.S. lawsuits and an LME
proposal to overhaul its delivery system from next April.