Metal Bulletin likely to introduce auditing of pricing

Companies playing it safe in wake of Platts raid

Metal Bulletin Ltd., which has published metals prices for 100 years, is considering hiring an outside auditor amid heightened scrutiny of pricing mechanisms.

It’s “more than likely” Metal Bulletin will make such a move, Managing Director Raju Daswani said yesterday in a telephone interview from London. The auditing would cover its iron-ore and U.S. ferrous scrap indexes as well as hundreds of other prices published by the company, he said.

“We have quite a lot of controls in place that are quite rigid,” Daswani said. “We are looking at everything that is going on and making sure that our systems are robust.”

Platts, which publishes energy and raw-materials prices, was raided by European Union antitrust regulators last month as part of an oil-price fixing probe. The investigation is being led by European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, who also is pursuing price-fixing allegations related to the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, and in the market for credit derivatives.

CRU, which competes with Metal Bulletin and Platts, said June 5 it hired an accounting firm to start checking price information provided by the steel industry.

Platts, part of McGraw Hill Financial Inc., said May 15 it was cooperating with the European Commission probe, which also includes BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Statoil ASA. Platts said yesterday it had no plans to audit its data providers.

Scrap Futures

Daswani said Metal Bulletin hasn’t received inquiries from clients concerned about its prices in the wake of the oil-price investigation. Metal Bulletin, a unit of London-based Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc, uses a methodology for calculating its indexes that includes weaning out abnormally high or low data, he said.

Its iron-ore index is used by producers selling to China, the world’s largest market for the steel ingredient. CME Group Inc.’s U.S. Midwest ferrous scrap futures are settled against an index published by American Metal Market, a sister publication of Metal Bulletin. The publication carries price information for more than 900 metals, according to its website.

Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, competes with CRU, Euromoney, Platts and other companies in providing commodities markets news and information.

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