Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai got an earful of open-outcry trading and perhaps a glimpse of the British unrelated to their famous stiff upper lip.
It happened during a visit to the London Metal Exchange (LME), the world’s biggest market for base metal futures owned by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. (HKEx).
LME is one of a few exchanges that still use the open-outcry system in which trades are conducted by frenetic hand signals and involves a lot of shouting, not exactly in character for the British who are nothing if not staid and proper.
Ma, who was accompanied by HKEx chief executive Charles Li, stayed long enough to watch the traders in action and meet the top executives of the exchange including its chairman, Sir Brian Bender.
British Economic and Treasury Secretary Andrea Leadsom was also on hand.
Ma is in London on an official visit, during which he is expected to sign a number of trade agreements.
LME has a 137-year history and continues to use a trading method that is practiced in only a handful of exchanges after the arrival of electronic trading.
Among these are the New York Mercantile Exchange, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Board Options Exchange, all of which boast a long history.
More than 80 percent of global non-ferrous business is conducted on LME and the prices on its trading platforms are used as a global benchmark.
HKEx bought LME for £1.4 billion (US$2.27 billion) in 2012.
That same year, the exchange traded 3.7 billion tons of base metals worth US$14.5 trillion.
Now, that’s a lot of tired hands and sore throats.
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