It was 1558: Hamburg merchants obtained the right from the “Honorable Council of the City of Hamburg” to establish a place for themselves at the bridge Trostbrücke in Hamburg’s former harbor area. At that time, it connected the bishop’s old town around the Cathedral and St. Peter’s Church with the count’s new town. Here they met on a daily basis to compare qualities and to trade. This was the hour of birth of the Hamburg Stock Exchange, one of the oldest German stock exchanges. Even then, the Hamburg Stock Exchange was characterized by two ideas: an international orientation combined with a strong sense of community.
Tradition, coupled with a constant willingness to innovate and adapt to the changing market, is still the guiding principle of Hanseatic traders today. And many exchanges have survived from that time to this day: the Hanseatic Securities Exchange, the Coffee Exchange, the exchanges of the insurance industry and house brokers, and so also the Hamburg Grain Exchange. The grain exchange is the last active “commodity exchange” in existence.
The stock exchange serves the trading business
But what is actually the task of a commodity exchange? Originally, it was to promote the economic interests of the members of the exchange. The Hamburg Grain Exchange, for example, provided a forum where traders and brokers initiated and brokered transactions in grain, oilseeds, animal feed, pulses or seeds.
Today, the Hamburg Grain Exchange still serves the agricultural trading business. Among other things, it issues the Hamburg feed contract bill and other form contracts. These are intended to help settle contracts fairly and prevent disputes. They are publicly available and can be downloaded here. Every Tuesday, the grain exchange’s quotation commission also establishes the spot market prices franco Hamburg for several types of grain, feed and pulses and publishes them as price guidance for the industry. The Grain Traders’ Association of the Hamburg Stock Exchange is the responsible body of the Hamburg Grain Exchange. It also manages its business.
The exchange remains alive even in times of digitalization
In the past, grain traders met every day with their samples. Today, market participants come together three times a year for interregional exchanges at the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce: Every January, April and August, up to 700 participants crowd into the exchange hall. They peruse the offerings of exhibiting companies, share market information and discuss it, close deals and network. Today, daily trading is largely done via the Internet, e-mail and telephone – life on the exchanges has changed, but the face-to-face meeting has not lost its value. It still paves the way for smooth business transactions today. We are happy to contribute to this and to keep exchange life in Hamburg alive with all exchange visitors.