How The Metal Market
Prices Are Set
The metal market prices for Hoover & Strong are set daily on or before 10:30 AM each day. When a customer calls and places an order, the metal prices for that order will be set dependent upon when the order ships. If the order ships same day, it will use the current day’s market price, if the order ships any day after the order date, the market will hold for the following day’s market price.
The daily metal price is set using the following markets:
Gold, Platinum & Palladium
The London Fix is the procedure by which the price of gold, platinum & palladium is set on the London market by the five members of the London Gold Pool. It is designed to fix a price for settling contracts between members of the London bullion market, but informally the London Fix provides a recognized rate that is used as a benchmark for pricing the majority of gold, platinum & palladium products and derivatives throughout the world's markets. The Gold Fixing is conducted twice a day via conference call. The AM Fix is set at 10:30AM London time (5:30AM EST). The PM Fix is set at 3:00PM London time (10:00AM EST). Hoover & Strong uses the PM Fix to set the metal market price for Gold, Platinum & Palladium at 10:30AM EST daily.
Handy & Harman (H & H) has operated as dealers in silver and gold bullion (bars) and coins since its founding in 1876. On the basis of their experience in precious metals in 1982 Handy & Harman began to issue a daily silver price as a service for American silver producers. The base price represents simply the lowest price at which, on any given day, H & H can buy silver for its own needs and this price is accepted as a guide for silver transactions worldwide. The H & H Base Metal price is set around 2:30 PM EST, long after Hoover & Strong has set the daily metal market price. For that reason, Hoover & Strong uses the prior days metal price. That means, if a customer has an order that ships same day, it will go out using the previous days Handy & Harman base price.
Rhodium, Iridium & Ruthenium
The Johnson Matthey base prices are the company’s quoted prices for their customers of wholesale quantities of platinum group metals set by their trading desks in the USA, Hong Kong and the UK. The price reflects Johnson Matthey’s current view of prevailing market prices and may take into account Johnson Matthey’s view on current market bids and offers. The price is for metal in sponge form with minimum purities of 99.9% for rhodium, iridium and ruthenium. The Price is set at 9:30AM EST.
The current 5 participants in the Fixing, who must be members of the London Bullion Market Association, are:
Scotia-Mocatta — successor to Mocatta & Goldsmid and part of Bank of Nova Scotia
Barclays Capital — Replaced N M Rothschild & Sons when they abdicated
Deutsche Bank — Owner of Sharps Pixley, itself the merger of Sharps Wilkins with Pixley & Abell
HSBC — Owner of Samuel Montagu & Co.
Société Générale — Replaced Johnson Matthey and CSFB as fifth seat
A Little History
The first fixing took place on 12 September 1919 amongst the five principal gold bullion traders and refiners of the day: N M Rothschild & Sons, Mocatta & Goldsmid, Pixley & Abell, Samuel Montagu & Co. and Sharps Wilkins. The gold price then was four pounds 18 shillings and ninepence (GBP 4.9375) per troy ounce. Gold prices are fixed in United States dollars (USD), Pound sterling (GBP) and European Euros (EUR).
On 21 January 1980 the Gold Fixing reached the price of $850, a figure not overtaken until 3 January 2008 when a new record of $865.35 per troy ounce was set in the a.m. Fixing.  However, when indexed for inflation, the 1980 high would equate to a price of $2398.21 in 2007 dollars, thus the 1980 record still holds in real terms.
The Fixing historically took place twice daily at the City offices of N M Rothschild & Sons in St Swithin's Lane, but since 5 May 2004 it takes place by telephone. In April 2004 N M Rothschild & Sons announced that it planned to withdraw from gold trading and from the London Gold Fixing. Barclays Bank took its place from 7 June 2004, and the chairmanship of the meeting, formerly held permanently by Rothschilds, now rotates annually.
A tradition of the London Gold Fixing was that participants could raise a small Union Flag on their desk to pause proceedings. Under the telephone fixing system, participants can register a pause by saying the word "flag", and the chair ends the meeting with the phrase "There are no flags, and we're fixed". "As part of this change, it is intended that a web-based commentary of the Fixing will be introduced later this year", the Fixing said in a statement.
Information obtained from:
Johnson Matthey (www.platinum.matthey.com/info/1046776915.html)
Kitco (184.108.40.206/glossary/london_fix.html), and
The Handy & Harman Story (www.handyharmancanada.com/hbpm/hhstory.htm)
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