London metals traders hit with fines for standing up

LONDON, July 21 Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:37pm EDT

LONDON, July 21 (Reuters) - Dealers on London's venerable metals exchange have been fined over one thousand pounds ($1,700) for standing up during turbulent trading.

The London Metal Exchange (LME) is the last in Europe to use noisy open outcry trading with arcane hand signals, used to deal in copper, aluminium, lead, nickel and zinc in the intense five minute bursts of the "ring."

Although apparently chaotic, traders are strictly forbidden to get up from the circle of padded red leather seats that make up the ring.

"The LME operates a ring, not a pit. Dealers that stand create an unfair advantage and might obstruct the view of other dealers and LME pricing committee members," spokeswoman Kathy Alys said.

Nine dealers trading copper on July 11 were fined a total of 13,750 pounds and one of the traders was also suspended from trading for two days because it was his second offence within three months, the 137-year-old LME said in a members' notice dated July 18.

First offence dealers were fined 1,250 pounds, while second offenders got double that.

The LME, owned by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd , has strict rules for its open outcry traders, including a dress code that requires a suit, tie and dark shoes. Chewing gum is prohibited as are mobile phones in ring dealing areas. ($1 = 0.5860 British Pounds) (Reporting by Eric Onstad, editing by William Hardy)