By Pratima Desai
LONDON (Reuters) - The London Metal Exchange has cancelled its annual LME Asia Week dinner in Hong Kong, a major event for the metal industry, and postponed the seminar that would have taken place on the same day, the exchange said in a notice on Friday.
The annual jamboree of the metal industry known as LME Asia Week was due to take place on May 6.
The LME is owned by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) <0388.HK>, which paid $2.2 billion for the world's largest metal trading venue in 2012.
China has said the death toll from the virus outbreak has reached 1,380.
LME said it cancelled the dinner and postponed the seminar due to the outbreak and "for the safety of staff, customers and friends in the metals industry across the region."
Metal industry sources, who estimated about 2,000 people attended the dinner last year, said it was cancelled because many of those who would have attended had decided not to go.
The LME had asked last week whether the virus would stop people travelling to Hong Kong, one head of a metal trading firm said. "They have clearly been told that there wouldn't be as many people going. It's not really a surprise they cancelled."
LME Week in London is typically held in October or early November. The dinner is normally attended by about 2,000 people and between 600 and 800 people usually attend the seminar.
(Reporting by Pratima Desai; Additional reporting by Shivani Singh in Beijing; Editing by David Evans and Edmund Blair)