"Chemical futures trading is a new frontier in the derivatives sector," said CME chairman Scott Gordon. "These new futures contracts represent a new line of risk management tools."
His comments were echoed by CheMatch president Larry McAfee, who said: "The ability to hedge intermediate and downstream products using regulated futures is an important milestone for the chemical industry."
Benzene and mixed xylenes are essential components in a number of industries, including the plastics business, and prices can at times be volatile.
Each CME-CheMatch futures will represent 42,000 gallons of the benzene or xylene and will be cash settled at contract expirations to an index of monthly prices compiled by Houston-based petroleum consulting firm DeWitt & Company.
CheMatch's strategic investors include venture capitalist firm Battery Ventures, along with leading chemical firms like Bayer, DuPoint, Methanex and Milllennium Chemicals, among others.