EEX to launch three-month energy futures

Frankfurt-based European Energy Exchange (EEX) plans to launch three-month, or quarterly-term, electricity futures on December 17. The quarterly-term futures closely mimic existing over-the-counter contracts, and reflect a constant delivery of electricity for baseload or peakload blocks for an entire quarter.

The futures contracts are designed to complement existing EEX one-month and twelve-month electricity contracts to provide companies with complete short- and long-term hedging capabilities against electricity price fluctuations.

Market traders with an appetite for risk should also enjoy additional arbitraging capabilities.

This combination should lay the foundations for the healthy development of EEX as an electricity futures market, Luke Jemmett, futures market development manager at EEX, told RiskNews. He added that yearly contracts, launched September 10, have made an encouraging start with an average of between 150,000MWh to 200,000MWh traded per day. EEX went live in March this year, and has become one of the most developed electricity futures exchanges in Europe - although it still lags earlier initiatives like Scandinavia's Nord Pool.

The first tradeable quarter for the three-month contracts is the second quarter of 2002. Unlike one-month futures, which are cash-settled, quarter-term and 12-month futures are initially replaced by other futures. For example, on December 27, quarterly-term futures will break down into three one-month futures which together correspond to the delivery quarter. One-year futures, menawhile, will be replaced on the last trading day by three one-month futures and three quarterly-term futures.

EEX claimed this cascading effect makes it possible for trading participants to trade standardised, liquid products at EEX even during the delivery period.

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