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E-FX takes another step forward

Foreign exchange technology is set to take another step forward when the Chicago Mercantile Exchange's electronic foreign exchange (eFX) markets go live on Reuters. The agreement marks the first major linkage of sell-side traders in the interbank FX market to CME eFX futures markets, where hedge funds and other buy-side participants play a major role.

The CME, the largest US futures exchange, and Reuters announced the plans in May 2004 and beta testing of the service began in December. Several bulge-bracket banks and financial institutions participated in the launch including ABN Amro, Bank of America, Barclays Capital, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB), Société Générale and Fimat.

Currency futures haven't been as successful as other products, such as interest rate futures. The interbank FX community has been reluctant to participate in currency futures because futures terminology is different to spot FX. ?The CME trades in contracts of fixed amounts for each currency, some of which are quoted in inverse terms when compared with spot FX,? says Michael McCorkle, treasury business manager at Reuters. ?The CME price also includes a price adjustment to account for the future date settlement of the trade.

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