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Foreign Exchange

Eurex launches new offensive to win FX futures business

The German exchange aims to take on CME to tap the growing interest in FX as an asset class

Ferscha: FX is the only major asset
class where Eurex has not
historically been represented

Frankfurt-based derivatives exchange Eurex last month unveiled plans to offer foreign exchange futures, a move that might come as a shock to US rival the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), which has historically dominated the FX futures market. "FX is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world, and it is the only major financial asset class where Eurex has not historically been represented," says Eurex CEO Rudolf Ferscha.

In 2004, daily FX volumes reached $1.9 trillion according to the Bank for International Settlements, with the fastest growth in OTC derivatives products such as forwards, swaps and options. The turnover of exchange-traded derivatives increased by a similar magnitude but exchange-traded currency derivatives still only constitute 1% of overall trading. Although futures make up the vast majority of this, the issue will be whether there's sufficient scope for growth in exchange-traded futures.

"From Eurex's point of view, I can see the logic behind this move but there's no evidence that there will be an explosion in exchange-traded FX futures," says David Poole, COO at research and advisory firm ClientKnowledge.

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