London Metal Exchange trading data briefly showed a 77% drop in the global benchmark price for copper after its system transmitted an incorrect price, in the latest technical failure in the embattled exchange.
The error came at the end of trading in the second open-outcry pricing session of the LME, which sets the global benchmark price for the physical metal industry. The error was the result of a data entry error, according to a person familiar with the matter.
While the last price in the trading ring was set at $9,130 per metric ton, the LME’s external data feed showed a price of $2,130 a ton. In a subsequent announcement, the LME asked data dealers to update their price feeds accordingly, and apologized for any inconvenience caused.
The glitch had no follow-on effect on prices or trading and was quickly resolved by the LME. However, the episode marked the latest in a string of technical failures on the exchange, including many complications which emerged when it returned to trading after last year’s historic nickel squeeze. At the beginning of the crisis last year, the clearinghouse also generated a “high amount” of margin error calls that for some brokers amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars.
At the beginning of last year, the exchange also experienced a five-hour outage that affected its electronic trading platform, where nearly one-third of trading took place. The rest takes place in a telephone-based interoffice market, plus a small number of trades that take place on Ring.
While Friday’s price issue was quickly resolved, the latest glitch comes as the LME continues to deal with the fallout from the nickel crisis in March, which thrust the exchange into the international spotlight and raised questions about its future at the center of global metal markets.
LME copper settled at $9,185.50 a tonne at 5:51pm London time, little changed on the day.
–With assistance from Kenneth Hughes and Yvonne Yue Li.
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