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London Metal Exchange: Europe's Last Trading Floor

Photograph by Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

In a bow to tradition, the London Metal Exchange, which operates Europe’s last trading floor, decided to continue face-to-face bidding on six main industrial metals. Businesses and investors around the world use prices set on the floor to value their portfolios.

Founded: 1877
Location: The exchange moved to 56 Leadenhall St. in 1994. It had previously spent 98 years at Leadenhall Market, where dealers did business around a circular copper ashtray in the middle of the ring
Volume: LME handles more than 80 percent of industrial metal futures trading. Ring trading accounts for 12 percent of LME’s total

Lords of the Ring

Ring trading takes place from 11:40 a.m. to 5 p.m., split into five-minute ring sessions for each metal, with two longer sessions known as the “kerb,” during which all metals are traded

1. Ring dealers
Occupying seats on the red couch, ring dealers are authorized to execute trades for clients and themselves
2. Account executives
Often on the phone, account executives keep colleagues and clients up-to-date on the action in the ring and take orders
3. Clerks
Standing behind the couch, clerks provide support to traders, record trades executed across the ring, and provide feedback and pricing info from the ring to traders
4. LME staff
The exchange has people on the floor to make sure everyone follows the rules

Troszkiewicz is a reporter for Bloomberg News in London.

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