March 16, 2020 / 9:08 AM / in 19 days

UPDATE 2-London Metal Exchange ring-dealing member employee tests positive for coronavirus

(Releads, adds trader comment)

SINGAPORE/BEIJING, March 16 (Reuters) - The London Metal Exchange (LME) said on Monday an employee of one its ring-dealing members had contracted the coronavirus, prompting a number of precautionary measures, including a deep clean of the last open-outcry trading venue in Europe.

"The LME was informed on Sunday that a member of staff of an LME ring-dealing member has been diagnosed with COVID-19," a spokeswoman for the exchange said in an email to Reuters.

The 143-year-old exchange, the world's oldest and largest market for industrial metals, gives nine brokerages exclusive rights to trade LME contracts by open outcry in the ring, a circular trading floor in the heart of Britain's financial district.

Traders said the LME had not told its members which ring dealing firm was affected, only that someone had the virus.

The number of coronavirus cases in Britain rose by 20% to 1,372 on Sunday, while the number of deaths increased to 35 from 21 a day earlier, according to the country's health authorities.

"The LME understands from its ring-dealing members ‎that they wish to continue open-outcry trading from London, and will facilitate this as long as desired and practicable," the spokeswoman for the exchange, which is owned by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd, said in the email.

The LME had carried out an open-outcry trading test at a disaster recovery site in Chelmsford, northeast of London, only last Friday, a twice-a-year event that it said was not part of its coronavirus contingency planning.

However, contingency plans do include moving ring trading to Chelmsford and moving to electronic pricing, the LME said.

Reporting by Mai Nguyen and Tom Daly, editing by Louise Heavens

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