London Metal Exchange Sees 27% Surge in Trading Volumes

London Metal Exchange Sees 27% Surge in Trading Volumes

Leandra Costa
2 min read

London Metal Exchange Sees Surge in Trading Volumes

In the second quarter of 2024, trading volumes of the London Metal Exchange (LME) skyrocketed by an impressive 27%, reaching a 10-year peak. This surge was primarily fueled by a substantial increase in the LME's nickel contract activity.

This resurgence is incredibly significant considering the LME's prolonged struggle with declining volumes. The situation worsened after the March 2022 nickel crisis, which led to the suspension of the nickel market and the cancellation of $12 billion in trades. Understandably, this turmoil caused unease among investors, resulting in many of them exiting the market and triggering lawsuits and regulatory investigations.

However, the LME has taken proactive measures to regain trust, and their efforts seem to be paying off. Nickel trading is showing signs of recovery, with daily volumes up by an impressive 76% in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year. Additionally, the open interest in the nickel market has more than doubled.

Key Takeaways

  • LME's trading volumes surged by 27% in the second quarter, marking a 10-year high.
  • Robust gains in nickel contract activity, with a 76% increase in daily volumes.
  • Implementation of post-crisis reforms to restore investor confidence.
  • Record high copper prices in May, followed by a subsequent retreat.
  • More than doubling of open interest in the nickel market in the first half of the year.


The revitalization of the LME, driven by the robust performance of nickel trading, has far-reaching implications for global investors and commodity markets. The increase in volumes and post-crisis reforms have stabilized the exchange, attracting back cautious traders. In the short term, this upturn enhances the LME's financial stability and market share. However, long-term growth is contingent upon regulatory adherence and market stability. The fluctuation in copper prices underscores the persistent volatility in metals markets, influenced by global economic shifts, particularly in China.

Did You Know?

  • London Metal Exchange (LME): The LME stands as the world's largest marketplace for trading industrial metals, operating as a futures exchange that permits the buying and selling of contracts for future metal deliveries such as copper, aluminum, and nickel. Its prices are globally recognized as benchmarks for industrial metals.
  • Nickel Crisis of March 2022: This event denotes a dramatic short squeeze in the nickel market, where prices surged by over 250% in just two days. The LME had to suspend trading and cancel billions of dollars in trades to avert a market collapse. This crisis spotlighted vulnerabilities in the global metals trading system, leading to significant regulatory scrutiny and market reforms.
  • Open Interest: In the realm of futures trading, open interest refers to the total number of unsettled contracts. A high open interest indicates substantial market activity and investor interest in a specific commodity. In the case of the LME's nickel market, a doubling of open interest signifies renewed confidence and heightened investor participation.

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