Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Steel forges London market debut

The London Metal Exchange has launched its first contracts for steel, as the capital's industrial metals marketplace looks to exploit surging prices driven by rampant demand from China and India.

Steel trading volumes soared to almost 1.0 million dollars (675,000 euros) in value on the first day of trading Monday, an LME spokesman told AFP.

Traders can now buy and sell two types of futures contract for steel billets, or long bars, which are widely used by the global construction industry to reinforce concrete structures.

The 131-year-old LME, situated in the heart of London's City finance district, is the traditional home for trading of base metals aluminium, copper, lead, tin and zinc.

Monday saw the start of electronic deals in the new steel contracts, while open-cry or pit trading was scheduled to start on April 28.

"This is the most important development for years at the LME, even if it may take some time for the new market to take off," said Perrine Faye, analyst at specialist metals website BaseMetals.com.

The new contracts will be deliverable at major steel export locations in east Asia -- Malaysia and South Korea -- and in Turkey and Dubai.

"In terms of volume we are just short of 1.0 million dollars worth of trade today," an LME spokesman told AFP on Monday.

Full story at AFP: Steel forges London market debut

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