How the LBMA Gold and Silver Prices Work
IBA operates electronic auctions for spot, unallocated loco London gold and silver, providing a market-based platform for buyers and sellers to trade.
The auctions are run at 10:30am and 3:00pm London time for gold and at 12:00pm London time for silver.
The final auction prices are published to the market as the LBMA Gold Price AM, the LBMA Gold Price PM and the LBMA Silver Price benchmarks, respectively.
The price formation for each auction is in US Dollars. IBA also publishes the benchmarks in British Pounds and Euros.
N.B. The gold and silver auctions settle against US Dollars only. The benchmarks in British Pounds and Euros are not tradeable directly through the auction.
The terms of reference of the Precious Metals Oversight Committee include reviewing the methodology.
The IBA Gold Auction: How it Works
How the Auctions Work
The auction process runs on the ICE Trading Platform which provides real-time order management, separation of house and client orders, live credit limit controls, a full audit history, compliance monitoring tools and advanced straight through processing using ICE’s APIs for trade capture, order entry and surveillance.
The auctions run in rounds of 30 seconds. At the start of each round, IBA publishes a price for that round. Participants then have 30 seconds to enter, change or cancel their orders (how much gold/silver they want to buy or sell at that price). At the end of each round order entry is frozen and the system checks to see if the difference between buying and selling (the imbalance) is within the imbalance threshold (normally 10,000 oz for gold and 500,000 oz for silver).
If the imbalance is outside of the threshold at the end of a round, then the auction is not balanced, the price is adjusted and a new round starts.
If the imbalance is within the threshold then the auction is finished and the price is set. Any imbalance is shared equally between all direct participants (even if they did not place orders or did not log in) and the net volume for each participant trades at the final price.
The final price is then published as the LBMA Gold Price or LBMA Silver Price in US Dollars and also converted into the benchmarks in British Pounds and Euros using foreign exchange rates from when the final round ended. N.B. the gold and silver auctions settle against US Dollars only. The benchmarks in British Pounds and Euros are not tradeable directly through the auction.
The prices during the auction are determined by an algorithm that takes into account current market conditions and the activity in the auction. Each auction is actively supervised by IBA staff.
Participants also have 30 minutes directly before the auction starts to queue up their orders. This is known as ‘Round zero’.
The IBA Gold and Silver auctions are centrally cleared which allows a broad range of firms to become Direct Participants (please refer to the section on Participation below).
All Direct Participants must be able to centrally clear futures contracts, but they also have the option to select their preferences for a cleared or bilateral match against each other Direct Participant.
At the end of the auction the volumes are matched up, with priority given to matching the bilateral preferences first, if possible. A firm will receive a bilateral match only where they have set their preference against another Direct Participant to bilateral, and the other Direct Participant has done the same, and there is volume that can be matched between the two firms.
Volume which is not matched and settled bilaterally must be converted into centrally cleared, daily futures contracts submitted to ICE Futures US at the benchmark price via exchange for physical (EFP) trades. These trades will be submitted for the Direct Participant by ICE Metals Broking.
When taken to delivery, the cleared futures contract settles according to the spot convention. The metal is settled as unallocated metal via London Precious Metals Clearing (LPMCL) accounts and the cash component settles at ICE Clear US.