Against a backdrop of exceptional market turmoil during the year, this strong performance reinforces the LMEs position as the leading market for industrial metals, said Martin Abbott, chief executive, LME. The exchange has demonstrated its ability to continue to provide highly liquid, efficient and robust markets. Our investment in infrastructure and product development will continue in 2009, he said. The month of December 2008 saw close to 8.8 million contracts traded, an increase of around 28% on December 2007, partly due to December 2008 having three more trading days than the previous December. The average daily volume for the month was 418,089 lots, against 381,187 the previous year, up 10% year-on-year.
Among the contracts showing the highest volume growth in 2008, nickel futures volume grew 37%, to 5.2 million contracts; lead futures were up 32% to 6.1 million and zinc increased 28% to 16.1 million. Aluminium futures, the exchanges largest contract, reached 48.3 million lots, an increase of 20% on 2007. Copper futures, meanwhile, were up nearly 24% year-on-year, at 26.5 million lots. In addition to the launch of our steel billet futures contracts, the year 2008 also saw the introduction of new services, including the extension of our prompt calendar, with the market now able to trade aluminium and copper out to ten years, and lead, zinc and nickel out to five years, reflecting the growing demand for exchange-traded risk management products, Abbott added.