The London Metal Exchange is asking its members whether they would like to use China's yuan currency in settling and clearing contracts and drop the British pound in the roster of currencies available to them, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

Offering traders the option to trade in yuan is part of a survey being conducted by the LME to help it design its planned new clearing house, the newspaper said.

The LME plans to keep its benchmark contracts denominated in U.S. dollars, according to the report.

We are always looking at new ways to help the market, the FT quoted the exchange as saying.

China is the biggest consumer and importer of many base metals, accounting for 40 percent of the world's copper demand.

China stepped up its bid to internationalise the yuan by widening the currency's trading band against the dollar to 1 percent from 0.5 percent from Monday.

The Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd <0388.HK> has announced plans for several yuan-denominated commodity futures, while the Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange is looking at launching yuan gold and copper contracts.

The use of the British pound to settle LME contracts has dwindled to negligible levels in recent years, the FT quoted brokers as saying.

(Writing by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)