The Chicago Board of Trade celebrated its 130th birthday yesterday with a cake five feet high weighing 300 pounds and in the shape of the Board of Trade building.
Trading continued during mid-morning ceremonies held in the center of the trading floor, with Chicago Mayor Michael Bilandic slicing off a section of a yellow door trimmed in chocolate.
"The financial capital of the United States is no longer on Wall Street in New York but on LaSalle Street in Chicago," the mayor said. "A seat here costs three times as much as a seat on the New York Stock Exchange," he added. CBOT membership currently costs about $180,000.
Bilandic, who marvelled that "you have MBA's from Harvard and you have people who walked in off the street, as traders, was joined at the cake cutting by CBOT President Robert K. Wilmouth and Chairman Ronald F. Young.
CBOT officials noted that the exchange began when 82 Chicago businessmen met in rented rooms above a flower store and sought to bring some order to cash grain markets in the l840s.
The celebration came as the CBOT announced that trading in March set a new one-month record at the exchange: 2,932, 891 contracts traded last March, which is 433,244 more than the previous record set last November. And volume for the quarter set a new record of 6.27 million.
A few blocks away, the Chicago Merchantile Exchange also announced record trading in March. The CME said, 1,313,737 contracts were traded, topping the previous mark of 945,790, set in February. And its first quarter set in a new record with 3,141,165 contracts traded.