LONDON (Reuters) -The London Metal Exchange said on Friday it plans to announce around June 8 whether it will reopen its open outcry trading ring or permanently shut the only such floor in Europe.
The 144-year-old exchange added in a statement that even if it decides in June to resume open outcry trading, it would not be able to implement the measure until late July at the earliest due to coronavirus restrictions.
The exchange, the world's oldest and largest market for industrial metals, announced a proposal in January to move to full electronic trading and held a consultation.
"The LME received an unprecedented volume of feedback ... with 192 individual responses," it said.
There has been a long-running battle between modernists and traditionalists over the future of the LME ring after other exchanges for everything from oil to stocks to cocoa all moved online.
LME floor trading was suspended over a year ago, in March 2020, amid a lockdown imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.
On Friday, it said a potential restart of ring trading depended on the progress of the UK vaccination programme and relaxation of social distancing measures.
"The earliest the vaccine criteria could be met would be late July 2021," it added.
(Reporting by Eric Onstad; Editing by Jason Neely and Steve Orlofsky)