Kansas City Board of Trade to close trading pit

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Kansas City Board of Trade will soon only be a name etched into its building off of Main Street.
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) announced it will shut down trading here before the end of the year.

Up until a few years ago, the trading floor of the Kansas City Board of Trade looked a lot like the trading floors of Wall Street.

It was a vibrant yet physical -- sometimes even bruising -- place of frenetic traders packed into a circular pit, where fear motivated and millions could be made and lost.

But in recent years, the trading pit gave way to electronic traders who opted to trade hard red winter wheat futures online.
So the last day of the open outcry trading on the Kansas City Board of Trade floor will be June 28.
Nostalgic traders said it's an end of an era.

"There just wasn't as much need for people to be on the floor," Frank Stone, president of the Kansas City Trading Group, said. "It's hugely sad."

A group of merchants who met on the banks of the Missouri River in 1856 organized the exchange.
The Board of Trade had many locations, first downtown then on Main Street.

Today, it handles the largest U.S. wheat market. Hard red winter wheat accounts for about 44 percent of the nation's total wheat harvest and is the primary ingredient in bread.

"The town should be proud that we were able to make and have a place where everybody in the world came to figure out what their wheat was worth," Stone said.

The exchange made millions last year. In late 2012, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange made shareholders an irresistible offer late last year: $126 million cash to be able to take Kansas City's exchange to Chicago.

It's a move that made each shareholder money they would not trade: $750,000 a share.

CME is the world's leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace.

The move to Chicago means the loss of several dozen jobs in Kansas City.
Electronic trading will remain here until September. CME declined to say what it would do with the building by the end of the year.

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