COLUMN-As LME looks east, CME throws down challenge in west: Andy Home

Fri May 22, 2015 4:30am EDT
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(The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Reuters.)

By Andy Home

SINGAPORE May 22 (Reuters) - The London Metal Exchange (LME) Asia festivities have just wrapped up in Hong Kong.

It is the third such annual event since the LME was bought by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) in 2012 and each year, it seems, the Asian gathering of the metals industry gets larger.

The grand old London lady of metals trading is all part of Charles Li's vision of positioning Hong Kong as the renminbi gateway between mainland China and international markets. The HKEx chief is confident the LME will help open up a commodities channel to complement the newly-opened Stock-Connect highway.

It's very much still an aspiration but LME Week Asia is where the foundation stones are being laid.

However, while HKEx looks east, U.S. exchange CME has just thrown down a challenge in the west with an announcement it is planning to launch a zinc contract for North American users.

The LME itself is looking to launch new contracts, including a re-entry into the ferrous trading space, in effect counter-challenging CME's existing steel offering.

The stage is being set for a battle for metals market share in the world outside China.   Continued...