(Bloomberg) — Near-record copper prices are usually a sure sign that the parties will be extravagant and the champagne will flow all night when the metals world descends on London. But with Covid-19 still raging across much of the globe, the famously rowdy annual gathering of traders, financiers and producers won’t be quite the same.
Several of the best-attended parties will be missing from this year’s London Metal Exchange Week, which is returning after skipping 2020 due to virus restrictions. And many regular attendees from Asia, the most important driver of metals demand, and from South America, the key mining region, are opting to stay at home.
The resumption of LME Week, when in past years many thousands have descended on London to cram into hotels, bars and nightclubs, is something of a test case for the return of large corporate events as the pandemic moves to a new phase.
“It’s certainly the case that there are fewer events,” LME Chief Executive Officer Matthew Chamberlain said in an interview. The week’s centerpiece event, a black-tie dinner hosted by the exchange that is normally attended by 2,000 people, is going ahead with a slimmed down 850 guests and larger gaps between the tables.
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