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The Associated Press April 30, 2012, 07:13AM ET

HK exchange considers London Metal Exchange bid

Hong Kong's stock market operator said Monday it's studying a bid for London's metal trading market, a move that comes after the exchange earlier this year announced plans to expand into commodities to capitalize on Chinese demand.

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. said in a statement that it's one of a number of parties examining a possible acquisition of the 135-year-old London Metal Exchange.

The statement noted the LME said in December that one option for its future is becoming part of a larger group and it has hired advisers for that purpose.

Earlier this year, Hong Kong Exchanges' CEO Charles Li outlined a plan to expand into commodities trading, in a major shift away from its traditional and slow-growing equities business.

He said the exchange wanted to move quickly to come up with new products that would capture China's strong demand for commodities before international and mainland Chinese players develop their own.

The LME trades futures and options contracts for aluminum, copper, nickel, zinc and other metals worth, on average, $61 billion a day or $15.4 trillion annually.

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