Many gold (and silver) investors have long suspected that the price of precious metals may have been manipulated by entities within the financial world, central banks and governments. Cartel type pricing already exists in some commodities so fixing the price of gold may not have been that far fetched, except that gold still plays a role as a financial asset. Investigations over the last half decade have raised questions about the pricing in many financials markets including sub-prime mortgage securities in the US, LIBOR, interest rate swaps, oil, silver, aluminum, and more. Bloomberg now reports that a draft study points to signs of gold price manipulation, with the punchline:

"Unusual trading patterns around 3 p.m. in London, when the so-called afternoon fix is set on a private conference call between five of the biggest gold dealers, are a sign of collusive behavior and should be investigated..."

The research paper by New York University’s Stern School of Business Professor Rosa Abrantes-Metz and managing director at Moody’s Investors Service, Albert Metz also points out that:

“The structure of the benchmark is certainly conducive to collusion and manipulation, and the empirical data are consistent with price artificiality,” they say in the report, which hasn’t yet been submitted for publication. “It is likely that co-operation between participants may be occurring.”

Among the financial institutions mentioned in the Bloomberg story are Barclays Plc, Deutsche Bank AG, Bank of Nova Scotia, HSBC Holdings Plc and Societe Generale SA.

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