Barclays quits open outcry trade at LME

Tim Wallace
Follow Tim
MAJOR commodities player Barclays quit open outcry floor trading at the London Metal Exchange (LME) yesterday, downgrading its membership at the world’s biggest marketplace for industrial metals to cut costs.

The commodities operations of banks like Barclays face tough times and total commodities trading turnover for the 10 biggest investment banks has tumbled 20 per cent in the first nine months of this year.

The British-based bank in particular suffered heavy losses in metals trading last year after it took bets in copper and aluminium that went wrong when markets lurched lower.

The LME, in the last stages of a $2.2bn (£1.38bn) takeover by the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, said in a statement Barclays had changed its membership status to Category 2, which allows only electronic and telephone trading.

Some traders said Barclays’ departure was bad news for LME efforts to preserve open outcry trade which was strengthened with the recent entry of Jefferies Group after French bank Natixis pulled back from commodities broking.