From gold to copper to heating oil, futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange set a record in 2003 as prices of many raw materials hit multiyear highs.
Gold futures trading volume was at its highest ever last year on the COMEX division of NYMEX. A record 12,235,689 contracts changed hands as gold prices shot up 20 percent in 2003, hitting a 14-year high on the final full trading day of the year last Tuesday.
That broke the 1982 record of 12,123,987 contracts, according to figures released by NYMEX late Thursday.
Also, gold options volume of 4,310,318 contracts shattered the 1999 record of 2,815,831 contracts.
Global economic growth revived in the second half of 2003 after more than two years of malaise and recession, ushering in a bull market in commodities reminiscent of their heyday in the late 1970s.
On top of that, demand for raw materials to feed China’s booming economy bolstered such metals as copper, which like gold set a record last year. COMEX copper futures volume shot to 3,089,270 contracts in 2003, besting the previous record of 2,856,641 lots set in 2001.
Aluminum futures set a record for the second consecutive year as volume rose to 107,490 contracts from the 2002 record of 74,000 lots.
Overall COMEX futures and options volume of 24,463,980 contracts exceeded the 1987 record of 21,495,598 contracts.
COMEX lists futures and options contracts for gold, silver, copper and aluminum. Crude oil, heating oil, gasoline, natural gas and electricity are traded at the NYMEX, along with gold’s sister precious metals platinum and palladium.
Overall turnover at the NYMEX and COMEX amounted to 139,163,370 contracts in 2003, breaking the record 134,223,757 contracts of 2002. Of this, total futures volume was a record 113,727,589 contracts, breaking the record of 107,839,041 futures contracts set in 2002.
Other records were set in heating oil and gasoline futures. The 2003 New York Harbor heating oil futures volume was a record 11,581,670 contracts, exceeding the 2002 record of 10,695,202 lots. And New York Harbor gasoline futures volume set a record 11,172,050 in 2003, breaking the 2002 mark of 10,979,736 contracts.