In error, CFTC says longer CBOT grain pit hours approved

CHICAGO Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:33pm EDT

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Commodity Futures Trading Commission mistakenly wrote on its website that it approved the Chicago Board of Trade's plan to expand open-outcry grain trading hours, an agency spokesman said on Wednesday.

A change in the status of the plan was "done in error," a CFTC spokesman said, adding to confusion for traders who have been forced to rapidly adjust to a series of changes in the grain cycle.

The CFTC wrote on its website that it had "certified" CBOT's plan to end pit trading for grain, oilseed and ethanol futures and options at 2 p.m. CDT (1900 GMT) Monday to Friday, instead of the current 1:15 p.m. close.

However, the plan has not been certified, and CFTC staff will review it until Friday, the agency spokesman said. He previously had said that a "certified" status meant the plan was approved.

As of 3:20 p.m. CDT (2020 GMT), the status had not been fixed on CFTC's website.

CME did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the mix-up.

The longer trading day is still expected to be approved to synchronize the closing times for open-outcry and electronic grain trading. It is set to start on Monday, ending a month of confusion for farmers and grain elevator managers.

CME last month expanded the electronic trading cycle to 21 hours per session from 17 hours, changing the end of the electronic session to 2 p.m. from 1:15 p.m., after rival IntercontinentalExchange launched look alike electronically traded corn, wheat and soy contracts on a 22-hour basis.

With CBOT grain pits still closing at 1:15 p.m., farmers and grain elevator managers said it was difficult to know what price to use for cash grain at the end of the day.

LATEST SNAFU

CFTC's error was the latest development to confuse market participants.

CME blundered in the process of implementing nearly non-stop electronic trading hours by not submitting its plans to the CFTC early enough to implement the change on its desired date. The exchange had to push back the start date by a week.

CME later scaled back its increase in electronic trading hours to 21 hours from an originally planned 22 hours after criticism from farmers and traders. Major U.S. grain groups said CME did not consult them about the change ahead of time.

(Reporting By Tom Polansek; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer and Leslie Gevirtz)

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