-- LCB to launch South African commodity auction exchange in two weeks' time
-- Commodity auction exchange to trade strategic commodities such as ferrochrome, coal, iron ore, and platinum
-- LCB is in talks with South African and Chinese banks to provide clearing services
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By Alex MacDonald
LONDON--U.K.-based brokerage house London Commodity Brokers said Wednesday it's planning to launch in two weeks' time an online auction exchange platform to buy and sell strategic South African commodities on a spot basis.
The platform is aimed at addressing concerns that South African commodity producers are too fragmented in certain commodities such as ferrochrome to viably extract more value from their resources vis-a-vis Chinese consumers who are more organized with regard to their raw materials purchases.
"Clearly a better price for sellers would be achieved by having a single channel of supply and this is what LCB now offers South African producers," the broker said in a statement.
The platform aims to auction commodities such as ferrochrome used in steel, coal, iron ore and platinum, Bevan Jones, general manager of LCB's South African office told Dow Jones Newswires in a phone interview. The platform allows producers to auction their cargos to buyers in a coordinated fashion if desired, thereby helping them achieve better prices for the products sold to Chinese consumers, LCB said.
The model would be similar to what already exists in the potash industry where many large producers of the fertilizer ingredient have formed regional marketing groups to sell their product. In LCB's case, the brokerage house would set up the platform but remain a neutral intermediary by not buying or selling commodities on the platform, it said.
LCB is also working with South African banks and Chinese banks to provide clearing services that would guarantee each side of a trade against default in order to facilitate more timely transactions.
Mr. Jones said that an application to join the online platform isn't predicated upon securing approval for clearing services.
LCB said it has exclusively licensed the platform from the CME Group Inc (CME). Numerous South African producers have already signed up to the platform, according to Mr. Jones. He declined to name them except to say that some of them were LCB clients. Existing clients include BHP Billiton Ltd (BHP) and Anglo American PLC (AAL.LN).
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 20, 2012 11:38 ET (15:38 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.