x -EEX sets record open interest in power futures
* September prices rally boosted volumes, liquidity
* Open interest overtakes previous record set two years ago
FRANKFURT, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Open interest in the European Energy Exchange's (EEX) continental power futures set a new high on Sept. 17, overtaking a 2011 record and demonstrating the market's increasing importance, EEX said.
The exchange said in a statement on Thursday the result underscored its role of providing transparency in Germany and surrounding countries, Europe's biggest power market, where its prices reflect the present and future cost of electricity.
Power derivatives open interest - the sum of all open positions in futures at a given date - on Tuesday totalled 604.6 terawatt hours (TWh), the Leipzig-based bourse said.
The previous high, on Oct. 28 of 2011, was 588.5 TWh.
EEX, which is majority owned by German-Swiss Eurex, the derivatives unit of Deutsche Boerse, provides a hub for trading of German, French, Austrian and Swiss power, German gas and European carbon emissions.
EEX said that since the start of September, 127.6 TWh had been traded on the futures market, with the volume exceeding 10 TWh on five separate days, which will help to set a new monthly volume record.
Initially driven by technically-inspired rallies, the price of the German key contract, baseload delivery in 2014, has gained 5.4 percent in September to date and is 2.6 percent above its most recent 5-year low on Aug. 6, Thomson Reuters data shows.
This is despite a fall in the contract's value on Thursday.
German elections are due on Sept. 22 and buyers have been opening long positions because they expect political change to bolster conventional power prices that have been depressed by incentives for renewable generation, traders say.
EEX said earlier this month it attracted volume away from the wider over-the-counter (OTC) power market into its regulated business in the first six months of this year.
Within this broader trend, traders have noticed a tendency for calendar contracts to become less important, in favour of more activity in quarterly and monthly futures. (Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Anthony Barker)
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