London Metal Exchange to delay launch of precious metal contracts

Traders and clerks react on the floor of the London Metal Exchange, London, Britain, May 13, 2016. REUTERS/Paul Hackett

LONDON (Reuters) - The launch of the London Metal Exchange’s new precious metals contracts will be delayed until July 10, more than a month later than previously announced, it said on Monday.

The new gold and silver contracts, a mix of daily and monthly contracts designed to enable industrial users to hedge specific dates, were due to go live in early June.

But the LME decided to delay the start “in the interests of maximizing market readiness and participation”, it said in a statement on Monday, adding that some prospective participants had indicated that they would not be ready to participate fully in the contracts until the July date.

“Part of the reason for the delay is to make absolutely sure we have maximum participation,” said James Proudlock, director and head of market development for the LME and LME Clear. “We want to hit the ground running.”

The LME is partnering in the venture with five banks -- ICBC Standard Bank, Morgan Stanley, Natixis, Goldman Sachs and Societe Generale -- plus the World Gold Council and proprietary trader OSTC.

It said last month its five bank partners, plus three others and broker Marex Financial, had agreed to participate in the contracts as clearing members as of the launch date.

The July date is subject to regulatory approval, it said.

CME Group and Intercontinental Exchange, which runs the LBMA Gold Price benchmark, have also launched new contracts in the London gold market this year.

Reporting by Peter Hobson; Additional reporting by Jan Harvey; Editing by Greg Mahlich