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Bolling: The Gold and Platinum Connection

I started trading commodities in 1987. I became a member of the New York Mercantile Exchange that year and focused most of my attention on crude oil. Since I spent the day in the crude oil pit, I tended to trade mostly crude and the energy-related commodities. During the trading day the audible volume varied but for the most part it was almost impossible to hear anything outside the pit.

On occasion, you would hear a swell of volume slowly build to a roar coming from another pit. Many times, it was the result of a refinery fire and the subsequent gasoline pit explosion (pun intended). Or if the daily weather report showed a dramatic surprise change in the 6-10, you might hear the distillate pit volume pick up.

Back then, the Commodity Exchange was an independent exchange trading primarily metals located in the northwest quadrant of the massive 4 World Trade Center trading facility. Nymex occupied the southwest, the Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange was in the southeast, and the Cotton Exchange was in the remaining northeast quad.

Those were the glory days of commodity trading in New York. Four exchanges trading hundreds of commodities from a shared trading facility. The trading was aggressive with so many traders on one floor, and those traders sharing one set of men's room facilities (99% of floor traders were men, a result of the very physical/violent pits). The cafeteria was dangerous. Fights broke out in the lunchroom, in hallways and I even saw one start in an elevator. The fight finished as the two dudes rolled out into the lobby. I swear this is all true.

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