Icap launches gold/yen pair on EBS platform

Leading global inter-dealer broker Icap is to launch a new metals product, a gold/yen pair, in early November on its electronic dealing platform EBS, bringing to five the number of metals pairs available on EBS and introducing the first non-US dollar metals pair available on the system.

Icap says the introduction of gold/yen has been prompted by increased customer demand for the product. Gold on EBS is traded as unallocated 995 fine gold on Loco London. The minimum tradable amount is 1,000 ounces, incremented in units of 1,000 ounces.

The EBS platform, acquired by Icap in April 2006 for USD755m from a consortium of banks including Citigroup and HSBC, is a global electronic trading venue and source of liquidity for trading precious metals, and was the first platform to offer electronic trading in gold in 2000.

Market interest has driven trading in precious metals on EBS up 102 per cent since the beginning of this year to set new record levels in October. Platinum and palladium, launched in March this year, have enjoyed particular success, with nearly 80 participants currently trading actively in these markets on the EBS platform.

'We have had strong interest from our customers, in particular large investment banks and EBS Prime users, for this metals pair,' says Darryl Hooker, global metals manager for Icap electronic broking. 'Gold/yen can offer traders who hold gold positions a new way to manage their risk exposure, as well as offer current and new users attractive arbitrage opportunities.'

Icap is a leading trading venue for spot foreign exchange, forward FX, FX options and non-deliverable forwards for both electronic trading and voice broking. The EBS platform is a screen-based anonymous dealing system for professional spot traders.

Trading volumes on EBS have grown strongly this year, with daily volumes reaching a peak of USD450bn on August 16 and averaging USD200bn in October. EBS Prime is a facility that enables customers to view and trade on the best prices available to the world's leading FX banks on the EBS system.

Icap is active in the wholesale markets in interest rates, credit, energy, foreign exchange and equity derivatives, with an average daily transaction volume in excess of USD1.5trn, more than 50 per cent of which is electronic.

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