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ICE, Nymex Post Record Trading Volumes in January 2007

Continuing their neck-and-neck battle for trading exchange market supremacy, Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) and the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) have both announced new trading volume records during January 2007. Nymex also noted that its electronic trading endeavor through the Chicago Mercantile Exchange's (CME) Globex platform is now regularly outpacing Nymex open outcry floor-traded volumes.

Coming off of the January consummation of its merger with the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT) (see Daily GPI, Jan. 16), ICE late last week reported record volume and commissions during January 2007 with figures that more than doubled the levels from January 2006. Average daily volume (ADV) for ICE Futures, ICE's U.K. based regulated futures subsidiary, was a record 574,170 contracts, an increase of 153.6% over ADV in January 2006. Average daily commissions in ICE's over-the-counter (OTC) business segment in January reached a new high of $918,288, a 136.7% increase over January 2006. Volume at NYBOT, which is now the U.S.-based futures subsidiary of ICE, totaled 3,590,589 contracts in January 2007, for an ADV of 178,168 contracts.

Total monthly volume at ICE Futures in January rose 165.7% to a record 12,631,746 contracts, compared to 4,754,400 contracts in January 2006. ADV in January 2007 rose 153.6% to 574,170 contracts compared to ADV of 226,400 contracts in January 2006. The new monthly and ADV records exceed the previous records established in October 2006 by 21.8%. Monthly volume records were established in ICE Futures' Brent, WTI and Gas Oil contracts. The new monthly ICE WTI crude futures record of 4,870,282 contracts surpassed the previous record of 3,732,375 contracts set in October 2006 by 30.5%.

At Jan. 31, 2007, open interest for ICE Futures stood at a record 1,636,261 contracts, compared to 1,416,470 contracts at Dec. 31, 2006. ICE Brent crude futures and ICE WTI crude futures established new daily volume and open interest records during the month, and ICE Gas Oil futures set a new open interest high in January. ICE Futures averaged 49% market share in global crude futures as measured by volume of light sweet crude oil in the month of January. A new daily volume record of 345,407 contracts in ICE Brent crude futures was set on Jan. 11, while the contract achieved a new open interest record of 639,966 contracts on Jan. 31. ICE WTI crude futures set a new volume record of 377,672 contracts on Jan. 11 and a new open interest record of 503,925 on Jan. 18, representing the first time open interest in the WTI contract has exceeded the half-million mark.

In ICE's OTC business segment, average daily commissions reflect daily trading activity in the OTC markets. In January 2007, ICE's average daily commissions increased 136.7% to a record $918,288, from $387,974 in January 2006. ICE said the growth in average daily commissions was driven by ICE's cleared OTC contracts and new market participants.

Over at Nymex, the newly public company (see Daily GPI, Nov. 20, 2006) said that "tremendous increases" in electronic volumes set records across all venues. Nymex electronic trading volume on CME Globex increased 538% over the January 2006 electronic volume on Nymex ACCESS. The electronic trading versus floor trading dynamic also shifted largely in favor of electronic from January 2006 to January 2007. While Nymex average daily floor volumes dropped from 557,442 to 395,568 contracts over that time frame, Nymex average daily electronic volumes increased from 97,942 contracts in January 2006 to 624,741 in January 2007.

For January 2007, Nymex's average daily volume set an all-time monthly record of 1.65 million contracts per day, a 45% increase from 1.1 million contracts per day in the same period of 2006. The company also reported that average daily volume on Nymex ClearPort increased 57% in January 2007 to 418,000 contracts, from 266,000 contracts in the comparable period of 2006.

Nymex also released statistics on its rates per contract during the month of December 2006. The gross average rate per contract across all Nymex venues was $1.44, while the net rate per contract, excluding transaction costs, was $1.16. This is compared to gross average rate per contract of $1.37, and a net rate per contract of $1.27 for December 2005. Transaction costs were $6.4 million for December 2006 vs. $1.8 million for December 2005.

The net rate per contract on the Nymex floor during December 2006 was $1.09, while the net rate per contract on Nymex electronic was 70 cents.

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