The London Metal Exchange plans to permanently silence its frenzied trading floor, known as the Ring, where nattily attired traders have helped set the price of everything from copper to zinc for more than 140 years.
The LME said on Tuesday that closing the Ring — a circle six metres in diameter with a red leather bench around the perimeter — was part of an effort to modernize the exchange and move toward fully electronic trading.
“The Ring is a greatly treasured aspect of the LME’s rich 144-year history, and its closure is not a decision we or our market will take lightly,” LME chief executive Matthew Chamberlain said.
“However, the LME has stood the test of time precisely because of its ability to adapt to the evolution of market dynamics and trading behaviour.”
The LME is Europe’s last open-outcry trading venue, where traders shout and use hand signals to place orders, and the Ring typically sets the benchmark price for base metals. Most exchanges closed their trading floors years ago, and the LME has faced decades of debate about its future.
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