LME, ICE say no plans to detail non-commercial positions

By Reuters Staff
July 29, 2009

By Pratima Desai
LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) – The London Metal Exchange and Intercontinental Exchange said on Wednesday they had no plans to publish details on speculative positions on their contracts, despite controversy about some recent holdings at LME.

The topic of large positions on the LME has also been raised by traders and analysts who think the exchange — in the interests of transparency — could or should publish more detail about large, possibly, speculative positions.

The LME also said it has no plans to publish names of dominant holders of stock warrants, cash and futures contracts and that it does publish data on large positions.

“Breaking that information down into categories like hedging and speculative is something that we have looked into, but do not think would provide any benefit,” the exchange told Reuters.

“Publishing names would be equivalent to publishing commercially sensitive information and could distort the market. There are no plans to do this.”

Analysts argue that the LME should be able to break down positions into commercial and non-commercial in the way the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission does.

But the difficulty with regard to commercial and non-commercial is how to categorise positions, the LME said.

“The U.S. system categorises users of the markets and attributes all of their positions to the same category,” the exchange said.

“We do not think that users of the LME markets break down into simple categories or that all of their positions fall into the same category.”

It added that the LME market was too complex to identify each position by intention.

The ICE said separately that it rarely sees participants in Europe’s main oil market with excessive positions and it has no plans to publish figures on speculative short and long positions on its contracts.
The exchange also said it has no plans to publish names of dominant holders of physical or futures contracts.

(Additional reporting by David Sheppard)

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