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Bloomberg's decisive forex push

In its 10 years' existence, EBS had never made a more significant announcement. At the end of last month, the bank-backed forex trading network, whose interdealer platform transformed price transparency in its market, said it would begin offering dealer-to-client forex trading on Bloomberg.

The agreed partnership package combines trading with market data and puts EBS capabilities on Bloomberg's 175,000 terminals, giving it an enviable new distribution network. Or, as Cliff Lewis, CEO of forex trading network Currenex, says: "EBS is the 800lb gorilla in our space... The gorilla has woken up."

The move is rather counter-intuitive. If you listen to forex bankers, technology firms, and trading portals, the next wave of consolidation among multibank distribution networks is just around the corner. And then along comes a major new player.

EBS Trader, the trading network that will be launched on Bloomberg, is in itself not new. It has been a standalone web-based offering for about 18 months. It enables users to view spot prices, chat to each other electronically, and complete trades on a conversational basis, which means that both sides agree a price and execute the trade. The two sides of the trade are usually banks and clients.

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