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LME's Q1 2017 trading volume down 1.5% on year; quarter-end open interest slips 4.6%

Hong Kong — Total trading volume on the London Metal Exchange was 38.86 million lots in first-quarter 2017 (January-March), inching 1.5% down from the same quarter in 2016, LME's parent company Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing said Wednesday.

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There were 64 trading days in Q1 2017, two days more than in Q1 2016. The average daily trading volume of the LME shrank 4.6% year on year to 607,251 lots in Q1 2017.

The LME futures market open interest at the end of Q1 was at 2.17 million lots, which represented a 4.6% drop from March 31, 2016, HKEx said in its Q1 2017 results released Wednesday.

Of the exchange's major metals contracts, nickel and zinc both showed a small year-on-year increase in volumes.

The average daily turnover of nickel contract was up 1.7% to 82,395 lots between January to March this year, while zinc contract gained 3.4% to 108,810 lots.

During the comparison periods, the average daily turnover on aluminum contract fell 4.4% to 229,826 lots, copper slumped 10.6% to 138,936 lots, and lead dipped 14.9% to 39,640 lots.

LME's ferrous metals contracts continued to gain traction during Q1 2017, with 531,460 mt traded for LME Steel Scrap and 134,800 mt traded for LME Steel. This exceeded the trading volumes for the full year of 2016, HKEx noted.

LME's revenue in Q1 2017 decreased by almost 9% from a year earlier to HK$369 million ($47.4 million), contributing about 12% of HKEx's total revenue of more than HK$3 billion during the reporting period.

According to HKEx, the fall in revenue was casued by an 11% yearly slip in trading fees due to a 4.6% decline in average daily volume of metals contracts traded, fee reductions for short-dated carry trades, a position transfer fee cap effective since last September, and increased incentive rebates.

--Winnie Lee,
--Edited by Arnab Banerjee,