CME's Duffy: longer grain-trading hours are here to stay

CHICAGO Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:30pm EDT

CHICAGO Oct 29 (Reuters) - CME Group Inc will not trim electronic grain-trading hours, which it expanded in May to fend off a challenge from rival IntercontinentalExchange, a top executive told Reuters.

"Just because the IntercontinentalExchange has not garnered a lot of market share...there is a competitive issue for us," CME Executive Chairman Terrence Duffy said on Monday. "We need to remain competitive and we will keep our markets open as long as others are open at that time."

Until May, CBOT grains traded for 17 hours a day, with a 2-1/4 hour pause in electronic trading from 7:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. CDT, the start of open-outcry dealing, and another gap from 1:15 p.m. to 6 p.m. EDT.

But arch-rival ICE's surprise launch this spring of look-alike wheat, corn and soy contracts - on a 22-hour basis - forced CME's hand, spurring it to join other major commodity markets that years ago moved to near round-the-clock trade to cater to hedge funds and Asian traders.

"If somebody else lists our products with those hours, we will remain competitive no matter who it is or what product it is," Duffy said.

Duffy said he would be open to an earlier close to open-outcry trading.

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