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HomeBusinessLONDON METAL EXCHANGE WRESTLES OVER OPENING ON QUEEN’S FUNERAL

LONDON METAL EXCHANGE WRESTLES OVER OPENING ON QUEEN’S FUNERAL

The London Metal Exchange has been wrestling with the question of whether to open on the day of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, a debate that has angered many of its brokers after what has already been a tumultuous year for the bourse.

The LME, where global benchmark prices for industrial metals from aluminum to zinc are set, has informally indicated to brokers that it intends for its market to be open next Monday, Sept. 19, according to people familiar with the matter. It has yet to make a formal announcement, they said.

The LME’s stance has angered brokers and clients of the exchange — some see opening during the funeral as a mark of disrespect, while others are simply upset by the lack of clarity from the exchange. The relationship between the LME and many of its users remains tense after its handling of the nickel crisis earlier this year.

Buckingham Palace on Saturday announced the date for the funeral, which will be a national holiday in the UK.

The LME “will be communicating to members via notice in respect of arrangements for the bank holiday in due course,” a spokesperson said.

For the most part, other UK commodity markets — including the gold and soft commodities — are closing for the funeral. The main exception is Brent crude oil, which ICE Futures Europe said would be open as usual, alongside its other oil contracts.

The difference is that opening the LME likely means holding trading sessions on its open-outcry trading floor, “the Ring.”

For the LME’s arcane system of contracts, Sept. 19 also falls at a particularly awkward time. It is the day when contracts for the third Wednesday of the month — where most liquidity is concentrated — are traded actively as “cash,” making it challenging to rearrange at short notice.

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