NEW YORK — The New York Mercantile Exchange said Thursday that its board approved a plan to merge some of its key operations with the Commodity Exchange.
The Mercantile Exchange is the largest U.S. market for oil futures and the Commodity Exchange is the leader in trading precious metal futures.
The Mercantile Exchange voted "to pursue the consolidation of appropriate operational and administrative functions" with the Commodity Exchange. It said the plan was approved "for the purpose of maximizing efficiency and productivity and achieving economies of scale."
The Commodity Exchange board has already approved the idea of a merger between the two exchanges, but a final agreement requires the approval of the membership of both exchanges.
The Mercantile Exchange said the ultimate goal is to consolidate all of the New York commodity exchanges, whose trading areas are on the same floor in New York's World Trade Center.
Mercantile Exchange Chairman William Bradt said exchange officials plan to meet with Commodity Exchange officials who are currently out of the country.
"We will not have any further comment until after that meeting," Bradt said in a news release from the Mercantile Exchange.
The Mercantile Exchange declined to give details on the proposed consolidation. Previously, however, NYMEX officials said the plan under consideration would merge the boards, staff and clearing mechanisms of the two exchanges. But trading privileges for most existing contracts and seat memberships would not be merged.
"It's still going to be a long, slow process," said Commodity Exchange spokeswoman Avery Hunt.
Last Wednesday, the NYMEX board approved a plan whereby NYMEX platinum and palladium futures will move into the former copper futures ring of the Commodity Exchange.