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London Metal Exchange reopens for the first time since pandemic struck

Shouts ring out again on London Metal Exchange trading floor as it reopens for first time since pandemic struck


Shouts rang out on the London Metal Exchange’s famous trading floor yesterday for the first time since the pandemic struck.

The LME runs one of the last ‘open-outcry’ marketplaces in Europe.

Traders bark ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ orders to one another around a circular red leather sofa, setting global prices for industrial metals such as copper and aluminium in the process.

Back to business: The London Metal Exchange shut March last year as the UK introduced the first lockdown

The exchange shut March last year as the UK introduced the first lockdown. The only other time the ring had been closed since being founded in 1877 was during the Second World War. 

The bourse is owned by HKEX, the owner of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Since March last year, all trades have been online and the LME proposed switching to an electronic system full-time. 

Boss Matthew Chamberlain said there had been ‘enough people who said, no, we really want to come back’ to reopen.

But he added: ‘Our ability to mitigate Covid risk is limited. 

‘You can’t tell these traders to keep their voices down, or wear a face mask or put them in a Perspex box. 

‘It would fly against the way they operate.’

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