CME Group will launch new coal contracts

LONDON/CHICAGO, August 24, 2010 – CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today announced the launch of trading and clearing services for four new swap futures and options on swap futures contracts.

These new contracts are settled against the API 2* and API 4* indexes published in the Argus/McCloskey’s Coal Price Index Report. Trading will be available on the New York trading floor and CME ClearPort, a set of flexible clearing services open to over-the-counter (OTC) market participants to substantially mitigate counterparty risk and provide neutral settlement prices across asset classes. Trading and clearing are scheduled to begin on September 12 for trade date September 13. These contracts will be listed by NYMEX and subject to the rules and regulations of NYMEX and CME.

The indexes used for clearing and settlement are compilations of prices for steam coal, which is used for the production of electrical power, and are jointly calculated and published by Argus and IHS McCloskey, part of IHS (NYSE: IHS). The API 2 index is the international price benchmark for coal imported to northwestern Europe. The API 4 index is the international price benchmark for coal exported from the Richards Bay terminal in South Africa.

“Coal, which we have listed since 2003, continues to be an essential global commodity that our customers use to meet future energy needs,” said Joe Raia, CME Group Managing Director of Energy Products and Services. “Coal processors, producers, commercials and banks who lend money to international coal operations all have price exposure, but trading in international coal still represents less than 20 percent of the total coal consumed. Swap futures on these new coal contracts, which clear as regulated futures contracts, can be used as a means to hedge their activity related to these markets in an environment in which counterparty credit risk is mitigated.”

“The API 2 and API 4 price assessments are the key benchmarks for the international coal industry and are used heavily in spot, term and derivative contracts,” said Adrian Binks, chairman and chief executive of Argus Media. “As 95 percent of the world's traded coal derivatives are settled on the API 2 and API 4 indexes, it makes sense for CME Group to develop their new trading instruments around these key prices. We wish CME Group every success with their new contracts, which will add to the portfolio of risk management services available to coal market participants."

“We are delighted that the world’s oldest, and one of the most prominent, futures and options exchanges is to list coal contracts for trading and clearing that are settled against the API 2 and API 4 indexes,” said John Howland, Publisher, IHS McCloskey. “We are confident that this will enhance liquidity in all API 2 and API 4 related markets by bringing these risk management tools to new players. IHS McCloskey was one of the first to launch international coal indexes nearly two decades ago and today the vast majority of the world's internationally traded coal derivatives use the API 2 and API 4 indexes for price settlement.”

The four new financially settled listings beginning with the October 2010 contract month include:

  • Coal (API 2) cif ARA (Argus/McCloskey) Swap Futures
  • Coal (API 2) cif ARA (Argus/McCloskey) Option
  • Coal (API 4) fob Richards Bay (Argus/McCloskey) Swap Futures
  • Coal (API 4) fob Richards Bay (Argus/McCloskey) Option

The monthly futures contracts will be 1,000 metric tons in size, with a minimum price fluctuation of $0.05 (5 cents) per metric ton. CME Group customers who trade the recently launched Dry Freight contracts will be eligible for capital efficiencies by cross margining against the coal index contracts. For more information on the contracts, please go to www.cmegroup.com/coal.

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