LME confirms trading to be split between open outcry and digital from Sept

(Image courtesy of FastMarkets via YouTube.)

The London Metal Exchange (LME) confirmed on Monday that it plans to reopen its trading ring on Sept. 6 and use open outcry for official prices, but move to its electronic system for closing business.

The exchange announced in June that it had abandoned proposals to close its open outcry trading floor, the last such venue in Europe, but believed electronic trading was the future.

The LME, the world’s oldest and largest market for industrial metals, at the time unveiled a hybrid plan to split the two most important trading windows between open outcry and electronic trading.

But because the split system had not been originally proposed, the exchange had to hold a new consultation with members and stakeholders, the results of which were announced on Monday.

“We believe this split pricing model is the best outcome for the market as a whole,” LME Chief Executive Matthew Chamberlain said in a statement.

The solution caters both for smaller physical users who use official prices in their contracts and financial and larger physical users who focus more on closing prices, the LME said.

The floor was closed in March 2020 for the first time since World War II to allow for social distancing needed to deal with covid-19, silencing its red ring of seats and the theatre of arcane hand signals and frenzied shouting by traders.

In January, the LME launched a consultation process on closing its open-outcry trading floor, arguing that the forced migration to digital trading was a success, but faced heavy opposition to the proposal from many traditional participants.

The LME is owned by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd.

(By Eric Onstad; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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