SINGAPORE/LONDON The London silver "fix", a global benchmark for spot silver prices, will cease to operate after Aug. 14, the company that administers the process said on Wednesday, amid rising regulatory scrutiny of price-setting in bullion markets.
Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC and Bank of Nova Scotia will continue to participate in the fix until then, the London Silver Market Fixing Ltd said.
Last month, Deutsche Bank had resigned its seat on the London gold and silver fixes without finding a buyer after its decision to withdraw from the bulk of its commodities business.
"Deutsche Bank has postponed its resignation from the London Silver Market Fixing from 29 April 2014 to 14 August 2014, at which point the benchmark will terminate," according to an emailed statement from the bank. The gold fix, along with other commodity benchmarks, has come under increasing scrutiny by regulators in Europe and the United States since the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) manipulation case last year.
Deutsche Bank's decision earlier this year to leave the fix process raised questions about the future of such a price-setting process, which happens through a teleconference between the participating banks. The banks are facing lawsuits accusing them of alleged price manipulation.
The silver fix, which started in 1897, is also run similarly.
The lawsuits have not targeted the silver fix, but in a five-year probe the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission investigated allegations that some of the world's biggest bullion banks distorted silver futures prices.
After 7,000 staff hours of investigation, the regulator found no evidence of wrongdoing and dropped the probe last September.
Silver prices were up 1 percent at $19.72 an ounce at 0736 GMT.
(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi and Veronica Brown in London; Editing by Richard Pullin and Muralikumar Anantharaman)