All quiet on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME)

(Reuters Business Report) – They traded everything, from corn and soybeans to crude oil futures, shouting orders and making trades. But for Chicago futures traders, as of Tuesday morning, the floor of the CME will be quiet. Open outcry ended at the closing bell on Monday, capping a 167 year run in the city where it was born.

John Pietrzak is a third generation trader. His grandfather started here in 1913.


“All the floors, the agricultural floors, the financial floors, the equity floors across the street, they were in the trading pits, and all the trading venues elbow to elbow, literally, I mean, more than literally, just squeezed in person to person every day for the entire trading session, and all these booths and the entire floor was populated with ,literally, thousands of people.”

The reality is that, the open outcry system has been fading for years, and now makes up only one percent of total volume.


“Due to efficiencies mostly in trading in both, the method of delivering orders at first and then in trading itself, computerization we’ve had, you know, no need for quite as many people.”

The move to shut down the futures pits is expected to save the CME $10 million dollars per year. It’ll also save a lot of vocal chords.

More than a decade ago, the London International Financial Futures Exchange became the first major futures house to abandon open outcry when it switched abruptly to all-electronic trading.

Reuters’ Correspondent Christine Stebbins was there on Monday:


“There was a lot of people that, former traders, honorary members, that were coming back that, I think, they were getting ready to go to lunch, and they were standing outside the futures pits just talking, sharing stories looking into the pit that, where there is no trading going on, so it kind of felt like a funeral almost. ”

The exchange’s more active options pits will remain open for now, but they too are losing ground to electronic trading.