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ICE More than Doubles November 2005 Trading Volume, Commission

Showing that increased trading activity of Nymex contracts through the Chicago Mercantile Exchange's (CME) electronic Globex platform is not denting the volumes on its exchange in the least (see Daily GPI, Nov. 1), rival electronic energy marketplace IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) reported Monday that volume and commissions during the month of November more than doubled the figures from November 2005. In addition, ICE Futures, ICE's London-based regulated futures subsidiary, boasted that for the month of November it averaged approximately 50% market share in global crude futures as measured by volume of light sweet crude oil.

Average daily volume (ADV) for ICE Futures was 451,676 contracts, an increase of 144.9% over ADV in November 2005. Average daily commissions in ICE's over-the-counter (OTC) business segment in November reached $723,323, a 101.3% increase over November 2005's $359,311. ICE said the growth in average daily commissions was driven by ICE's cleared OTC contracts and new market participants.

The Atlanta-based company noted that total monthly futures volume in November rose 144.9% to 9,936,879 contracts, compared to 4,057,749 contracts in November 2005. ADV in November 2006 rose 144.9% to 451,676 contracts compared to ADV of 184,443 contracts in November 2005.

On Nov. 30, ICE reported that open interest for ICE Futures stood at a record 1,515,376 contracts, compared to 648,585 contracts back on Dec. 31, 2005. ICE Brent Crude futures, ICE WTI Crude futures and ICE Gas Oil futures also established new open interest records during the month.

ICE Natural Gas futures monthly volume totaled 66,165 contracts in November 2006, up from 53,775 contracts in November 2005. ICE Gas Oil futures monthly volume totaled a record 1,983,258 contracts, and ADV was a record 90,148 contracts, an increase of 68.6% compared to November 2005. After not even being offered a year ago, ICE WTI Crude futures during the month of November totaled 3,454,015 contracts.

Also during the month of November, the company set a new daily volume record of 280,152 contracts in the ICE Brent Crude futures contract on Nov. 30. Open interest in the ICE Brent Crude futures contract reached a new high of 599,190 contracts on Nov. 13. ICE WTI Crude futures also set a new open interest record of 456,437 contracts on November 13, while the ICE Gas Oil futures contract established a new open interest record of 317,599 contracts on Nov. 3.

Nymex's partnership with CME was seen by the industry as a defensive response to the significant success of ICE's electronic trading activity. In February, Nymex's board of directors voted to offer side-by-side open outcry and electronic trading of its benchmark, physically settled energy futures contracts (see Daily GPI, Feb. 9). In April, Nymex solved the dilemma of how to take its electronic energy trading to "virtually 24 hours a day" through a technology services agreement with CME, under which CME's Globex electronic trading platform became the exclusive electronic trading services provider for Nymex's energy futures and options contracts (see Daily GPI, April 7).

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