LME consults on caps for warehouse charges

14 July 2016

  • Exchange proposes to publish a simple, transparent set of caps on maximum rates charged by LME-registered warehouses
  • Maximum rates would be frozen for five years from 2017-18
  • Once freeze ends, caps would increase annually based on consumer price index

The London Metal Exchange (LME) is today initiating a market-wide consultation proposing to control escalating warehousing costs by imposing caps on maximum charges. If enacted, the first capped charges would come into effect on 1 April 2017.

“The metals industry has expressed concerns over the headline rates charged by LME-registered warehouse operators. After conducting an extensive discussion process, the LME believes that a fair and straightforward approach to this very complex issue would be to cap these maximum rates and to impose a medium-term freeze on increases,” says Matthew Chamberlain, Head of Business Development.

The LME proposes to set the initial schedule of maximum rates for warehouse rents and free-on-truck (FOT) charges by calculating the average of the highest published charges for the years 2015-16 and 2016-17, on a per-metal and per-country basis. This schedule of charge caps would be frozen for five years, during which time “real-world” prices are expected to converge closer to the frozen published rates. After that, the maximum prices would be updated annually based on the per-country consumer price index.

“The LME is committed to the physical market, and we have devoted substantial time and resources to address these serious concerns over warehouse charges. The result is the simple solution we are proposing today, which we believe will bring clarity and stability to the industry, with minimal market disruption,” says Garry Jones, LME Chief Executive.

The consultation document also outlines a proposed process to set caps for new countries or contracts added to the LME network, and an appeal procedure for warehouse operators to accommodate material changes in their economic circumstances.

The caps will apply to the maximum or headline rates. Warehouse operators will still be free to charge less than the cap in each country.

The consultation will be open until 19 August 2016. The LME hopes to publish its conclusions by 30 September 2016, and aims for any revised policy to take effect following the 90-day notice period required under the LME Warehouse Agreement, that is, by 29 December 2016, in time for publication of the 2017-18 charges.


Notes to editors

  • The initial discussion paper relating to LME warehousing charges (16/136 : A132 : W045) can be found here.
  • The LME’s warehouse reform programme, which was announced in November 2013, was designed to reduce queues at LME-approved warehouses and to improve the transparency and effectiveness of the LME’s physical delivery network.
  • For further details and links to all previous communications regarding LME warehouse reforms please visit the LME's warehouse reform page

Associated Links

Contact details

For further information or to speak to an LME spokesperson, please contact:  

Miriam Heywood
Tel: +44 (0)207 113 8538

Bianca Blake
Tel: +44 (0)207 113 8534

About the London Metal Exchange

The London Metal Exchange, a member of HKEX Group, is the world centre for industrial metals trading.

The majority of global non-ferrous metals business is conducted on our three trading platforms: LMEselect (electronic), the Ring (open outcry) and the 24-hour telephone market. The world’s metal community uses the LME to trade futures and options, and to hedge against adverse price movements. Prices that are discovered on our markets are used as the global reference prices.

Participants can trade aluminium, aluminium alloy, copper, tin, nickel, zinc, lead, molybdenum, cobalt, steel rebar and steel scrap, and four regional aluminium premiums contracts. In 2016, 156.5 million lots were traded on the LME, the equivalent of 3.5 billion tonnes and $10.3 trillion in notional value.

At the close of the year, approximately 3.6 million tonnes of material was held on LME warrant in more than 600 storage facilities across 34 locations internationally.