The only other time the 143-year-old metals exchange temporarily closed was during World War II, when - in the absence of electronic trade - the venue was forced to shut entirely.
The move to close the floor has been replicated by US exchanges Chicago Board Options Exchange, CME Group, Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), all of which also have open outcry trading venues.
The LME said the switch to electronic trade on LMEselect was temporary and comes after one of its floor team traders tested positive for the virus. Last week, its ring traders moved to the LME’s disaster recovery site in Chelmsford, Essex, with the goal of closing the floor on or before Monday March 23.
For traders on the floor, the eleven companies that own them, and the vast number of industrial companies that they serve, the decision has fueled concern that LME price discovery will...