Coronavirus closes Chicago Mercantile Exchange trading floor

Almost two weeks ago, the exchange told FOX Business it was staying open

Almost two weeks after the head of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange told FOX Business it was staying open despite the coronavirus fears, the continued growth of the outbreak has forced the exchange to alter those plans.

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NYSE PREPARING FOR CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK: GASPARINO 

The parent company of "The Merc" announced Wednesday it will close its Chicago trading floor starting with the close of business on Friday, March 13, 2020. The move was made "as a precaution to reduce large gatherings that can contribute to the spread of coronavirus in line with the advice of medical professionals," the CEM group said in a release.

The exchange, which trades futures and options, in agriculture, energy, foreign exchange, interest rates, metals and real estate, said no coronavirus cases have been reported on the trading floor or in the Chicago Board of Trade building. No date was given for when the CME could reopen and the exchange said any reopening of the trading floor will be evaluated as more medical guidance on the coronavirus becomes available.

IS CORONAVIRUS SPREAD IN OPEN-PLAN OFFICES?

It is unclear if other exchanges will follow suit. Inquiries by FOX Business to the New York Stock Exchange were not immediately returned. However, FOX Business has learned that starting this Friday and every Friday thereafter, until further notice, the NYSE will do a deep cleanse of the facility. Any objects -- apart from machines at the trading posts -- exposed after the floor closes will be considered contaminated and thrown away.

As for the CBOE, a spokesperson for the exchange tells FOX Business, it "is continuing to closely monitor the current situation regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). In the event the situation escalates such that it would become necessary to suspend open outcry trading on the Cboe Options Exchange (C1) trading floor to attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Cboe is prepared for C1 to operate in an electronic-only trading mode" and more details can be found here.

Earlier on Wednesday, Chicago canceled is annual St. Patrick's Day parade in a precautionary move.

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