Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Can metals traders really not afford a XRF gun?

From the Wall Street Journal via Insider: 
The London Metal Exchange revealed a surprising mix-up last week at a warehouse in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam.

An operator for the warehouse weighed bags that were thought to contain 54 metric tons of nickel, only to find that they were filled with stones, according to The Wall Street Journal.

It appears that JPMorgan Chase is the unlucky owner of those bags, the Journal said on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Had they contained nickel, the bags would have been worth $1.3 million at current prices, representing 0.14% of nickel inventories, Bloomberg reported. While that means the mix-up will have a relatively minor impact on metal markets, it does call the security of the LME's contracts into question. "In an industry riddled with scandals, the LME's contracts are viewed as unquestionably safe," Bloomberg said.

From Matt Levine's hilarious and informative newsletter, this contribution from Bloomberg News: 

The revelation that about $2 million of “nickel” on the London Metal Exchange was actually just bags of stones has thrown a spotlight on the sprawling web of warehouses and metal stashes underpinning the billions of dollars of derivatives traded daily on the LME.

Over the past week, warehouse staff from Busan in South Korea to Genoa in Italy have rushed to check tens of thousands of two-ton bags of nickel – in some cases, by literally kicking them.

The LME advised warehouse operators to wear steel toe-capped boots for safety, one person who received the instructions said. The rule of thumb: If it hurts when you kick it, it’s probably nickel.

The mass inspection, which also included more carefully calibrated checks like weighing and scanning the bags, came after the LME last week announced it had discovered “irregularities” in nine nickel contracts. 

 I would think that someone receiving bags of nickel would notice a bag of stones, but who knows? 

1 comment:

  1. I sometimes wonder why ICH/FDA/EC had to write x or y; surely that is common sense! But, then you see things like this and realize that people do need to be told sometimes. For instance, minimally, perform an ID test!


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20