Liffe leans towards Globex

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LIFFE, THE London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange, is leaning towards joining Globex, the 24-hour futures and options trading system launched by the giant Chicago exchanges and Reuters this summer.

At a futures conference in Burgenstock, Michael Jenkins, Liffe's chief executive, said: 'There are terms under which we would join. We are having discussions.' Liffe would benefit by having its key contracts traded on Globex screens in other time zones when London markets were closed.

The International Petroleum Exchange, London's energy market, is also in talks with Globex, said Bill Brodsky, president of Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Paris Matif, Sydney Futures Exchange and some New York exchanges intend to join.

But if Liffe, the world's third largest exchange, signed up it would be a major coup for Globex. The more futures and options exchanges that join and list successful contracts on Globex screens, the more attractive the system will be to potential users who need constant market access.

Liffe's interest in Globex may be driven by competition. The Deutsche Termin Borse, which trades a rival German government bond future to one on Liffe, said that it was thinking about joining Globex. If it listed its Bund contract on Globex, it could cut into Liffe's market lead. Mr Jenkins said: 'If DTB would join, that would be a factor.'