LME overhauls electronic platform as trading volumes surge

The London Metal Exchange said Tuesday it has completed a major upgrade to its electronic trading platform called LMEselect with partner Cinnober to handle increased volumes – trading to date is up more than 20% compared to last year's record volumes.

A takeover of the the LME, which handles some 80% of global trade in metals futures, appears to be in the offing as it gears up to compete against Asian metal trading hubs.

The LME in October cleared and matched its first gold trade and the 134-year old exchange – one of the last bastions of open outcry trading – is looking to start trading silver next year. Over the last 7 years electronic trading has grown from 2% to over 70% of the LME's market volume.

Said Michael Warren, CTO of the LME: "A constantly changing marketplace means being able to deliver new order types and face up to the demands of high-frequency trading." The partnership between Cinnober and the LME began back in 2003 a period over which electronic trading has grown from 2% to over 70% of the LME's market volume.

MINING.com reported in November by buying the stake held by defunct broker MF Global, JP Morgan  has dramatically boosted its influence in the battle to acquire the London Metal Exchange. As the biggest shareholder JP Morgan now has stronger input into any changes proposed by suitors while making a tidy profit from any sale, but retains the option to team up with others to block a takeover.