CORRECTED-UPDATE 2-ICE to study cutting soft commodities trading hours

Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:55pm EDT
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(Correcting sugar, cocoa trading hours in paragraphs 13, 14)

SAN FRANCISCO, March 22 (Reuters) - IntercontinentalExchange Inc will consider cutting trading hours for soft commodities in a bid to improve liquidity, president and chief operating officer of ICE Futures U.S. Ben Jackson said on Friday.

The Atlanta-based exchange will put forward a proposal to reduce hours in sugar, coffee and cocoa contracts listed on Liffe in London and ICE Futures U.S. in New York once it has completed its $8 billion acquisition of NYSE Euronext, he told delegates at the National Coffee Association USA conference.

Committees dedicated to each commodity will be responsible for making a recommendation on the hours to the exchange.

"In recognition that there are periods of time when there are very illiquid hours...We're going to work with the (product) committees and shorten them (the hours)," Jackson said.

This is the exchange's first move to change U.S. trading hours after complaints from traders that almost non-stop trading in cocoa, arabica coffee and raw sugar futures and options in New York reduces liquidity.

ICE will acquire the robusta coffee, white sugar and cocoa futures and options contracts listed on Liffe in London as part of its NYSE takeover. Those contracts are open for a shorter period and within the ICE soft commodity hours.

It also comes after ICE started a review earlier this month of its trading hours in Canada where it has the world's largest futures and options market for canola.

Customers of the U.S. exchange from growers and coffee roasters to sugar traders say they see little benefit from the early U.S. opening.   Continued...