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LME CEO says nickel reforms to be implemented 'relatively quickly'

LME CEO says nickel reforms to be implemented 'relatively quickly'
LME CEO says nickel reforms to be implemented 'relatively quickly' Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
By Reuters
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By Divya Chowdhury

DAVOS, Switzerland - The London Metal Exchange (LME) will implement recommendations on accountability and position limits "relatively quickly" from an independent review of last year's nickel crisis to prevent market distortions and improve risk monitoring, its chief executive officer said on Wednesday.

"The recommendations around accountability levels and position limits are particularly important, are broadly rules-based, so could be brought about quite quickly," LME CEO Matthew Chamberlain said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Worries about supplies from major producer Russia after it invaded Ukraine last February and the cutting of large short positions, or bets on lower nickel prices, culminated on March 8, 2022 in disorderly trade which saw prices double to above $100,000 a tonne in a matter of hours.

The LME, the world's largest and oldest metals forum, annulled all nickel trades on that day, for which it is facing legal action, and suspended the market for the first time since 1988.

Independent consultancy Oliver Wyman was appointed by the LME to carry out a review of the debacle.

Trading volumes at the LME have been slowly declining primarily due to increased competition from the over-the-counter (OTC) markets, Chamberlain said in an interview with the Reuters Global Markets Forum.

He said the LME plans to make its platform more attractive to traders by not increasing fees in 2023 "even with inflation".

The exchange will keep its combination system of an open-outcry ring and digital trading "for as long as the ring dealers are willing to support it", Chamberlain said.

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