Thursday, February 21, 2008

Steel futures Launch

Steel, part of the fabric of daily life for hundreds of years as ploughs and pipes, guns and girders, will be traded on the London Metal Exchange from Monday, allowing producers and consumers to hedge their future business commitments.

The world's premier platform for non-ferrous metals will begin trading futures in billets, a steel product commonly used in construction, initially via electronic screens before moving to open outcry floor trading on April 28.

The aim is to tap into the $500 billion global steel industry, offering opportunities to hedge price risks to the world's major producers and consumers.

Several large steel companies including ArcelorMittal have rejected the need for a futures contract, but the LME as well as banks, brokers and merchants, who have staked time, money and resources on making it work, are optimistic.

"I welcome the launch of the LME's steel billet futures," Ralph Oppenheimer, executive chairman of Stemcor, the world's biggest independent steel trader told Reuters.


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