The gold market that sets Gold Prices never sleeps.
Gold is priced and traded somewhere in the world at all times, twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week, three hundred and sixty five days per year.
There are active gold markets in just about every major financial center in the world, including New York, Chicago, Tokyo, Sydney, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Dubai, Geneva, and London, to name a few.
But the London gold market is by far the most famous and most closely watched of all the trading centers for gold. This is largely due to history. The “London Gold Fix” has been the major daily event in the gold market for nearly a century, and though the market no longer revolves solely around London, the symbolism attached to the London gold market still shines like a light on the global gold marketplace.
When the price of gold is quoted in the media, it is most often quoted as “London gold,” or “gold at the fix in London.” Very seldom do you hear or see it quoted by its price in Chicago, Tokyo, Sydney or Geneva.
Just What Is The London Gold “Fix?”
The London gold fix is the mechanism by which the price of gold is set at the outset and close of each trading day at the London bullion market, still one of the major bullion markets in the world. Each and every trading day, tons of gold trades hands at the London bullion market.
The price is determined by the agreement of the five members of an organization called the London Gold Market Fixing Ltd. Though it may appear like it, there is actually very little guesswork in this process at arriving at a price for gold. Market activity during the day and overnight in other markets drives the fixing process and very seldom are there disagreements among the five members that delay the fix.
Each morning and afternoon, at the opening and closing of the London bullion market, representatives of these five member companies meet via teleconference and determine the then-current price of gold. Before the electronic age, the fixing was actually done at a table, with representatives of the five member firms meeting face to face.
The first gold fixing occurred on September 12, 1919 and, to this day, it is still the price that gold products around the world in markets around the world guide off of.
During the World War II era, the market and thus the fixing were suspended due to hostilities. After the war the fixing was not immediately brought back and didn’t reappear until 1954. It has continued uninterrupted since that time.
Who Are The Five Member of the London Gold Market Fixing Ltd. Today?
Today the price is fixed in three major currencies: US dollars, British pounds sterling and euros. The five members of the London Gold Market Fixing Ltd. have changed over the years with mergers, acquisitions and changes in business models. Today the five members of the London Gold Market Fixing Ltd. are:
Scotia Mocatta is a part of Scotia Capital and a division of the Bank of Nova Scotia in Canada.
• Barclays Capital
Barclays Capital is a leading global British investment bank and a division of Barclays plc.
• Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank is a division of Deutsche Bank Group of Germany, one of the world’s largest, diversified financial services providers.
Originally called Hong Kong Singapore Bank Company, HSBC is one of the world’s largest financial services firms and is based out of London.
• Societe Generale
Societe Generale is one of the largest and oldest banks in France and conducts business globally, but has an especially large presence in Europe.
This makeup of the membership shows the changing role of Great Britain in the world and the globalization of the financial services industry. At one time, all five members were strictly British firms. It should also be pointed out that, prior to World War II, the fixing was priced only in British pounds sterling not gold prices.