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19 Jan 2021 | 12:10

LME set to close its doors for first time since WWII

(Sharecast News) - One of the last remaining open-outcry trading floors in the world may soon shut its doors for good. The London Metal Exchange's "Ring", where traders still vied with each other in furious shouting matches, was reportedly set to table a discussion paper later on Tuesday broaching its possible close.

Since Victorian times, the trading ring had been the epicentre of the global trade in metals and was the only such venue that still existed in Europe.

Although it had remained closed since the start of the pandemic, in March, some argued that it remained the best way to trade the complex contracts involved.

Closing the Ring might also lead to heightened competition with electronic traders and much better capitalised banks, some observers argued.

The LME was acquired by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing in 2012.

A complete shift to electronic trading was expected to be announced for 23 March and there was concern over the potential for short-term market impacts, not least because closing prices were still settled there.

Until then, traders were already expected to be shunted to a back-up trading facility outside the City in order to avoid the risk of travel.

The Ring was last shut down during World War II, when it was closed for several years.

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