Trading pits to fall silent this summer

Scenes like those seen in the film Trading Places will be history

Nick Goodway
Friday 06 February 2015 02:25
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The open outcry is almost over: a trader gesticulates in the S&P 500 futures pit on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange
The open outcry is almost over: a trader gesticulates in the S&P 500 futures pit on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange

The owner of many of America’s oldest financial markets has called time on the raucous “open outcry” trading pits that were at the heart of the American economic boom through much of the 20th century.

Scenes like those seen in the film Trading Places – of dealers frantically waving their arms to deal in frozen concentrated orange juice and pork-belly futures – will be history.

CME, owner of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the New York Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade, said it would close their trading floors by 2 July this year.

Open-outcry trading now accounts for just 1 per cent of CME’s overall volumes, which are now dominated by electronic dealing systems.

Trading pits originated in Chicago in the 1860s and for decades dominated the financial trading of commodities from local wheat to far-flung metals. They also inspired the popular family card game Pit, launched in 1904.

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