London Metal Exchange to close ‘open outcry’ trading ring

The trading ring at the London Metal Exchange (LME) could close after 144 years.

The site where traders shout at each other across the floor to set the world’s metal prices has been shut since Covid struck in March.

Since then it has modernised trading in line with social distancing measures and has now proposed the end of ‘open outcry’.

The trading ring at the London Metal Exchange (pictured) looks set to close after 144 years

But brokers are likely to resist any changes – they enjoy the rowdy trading and say it is the best way to set LME’s complex system of futures contracts.

Many say it serves the industry as well today as it did in Victorian times, doing £38billion of trades a day.

In the trading pit – the Ring – brokers huddle together on circular red sofas to decide the final price.

But it has been criticised for being outdated and not female-friendly. Closing the floor pits them against sophisticated algorithmic traders and big banks.

LME chief executive Matthew Chamberlain said: ‘It is the right time to consider the permanent closure of the Ring and a move to an electronic pricing structure.

‘Its closure is not a decision we or our market will take lightly.’

City commentator David Buik said: ‘Tragic but with the advent of technology, the LME has done well to hang in there for so long.’