CME, ICE trading falls in November on lower volatility

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Trading fell last month at CME Group Inc and IntercontinentalExchange Inc, the two biggest U.S. futures exchange operators, as smaller market swings caused investors to pull back.

Investors typically use futures contracts, which lock in future asset prices at today's levels, to bet on or hedge against swings in underlying assets, so when they expect lower volatility, they often trade less.

New rules stemming from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform act also hurt CME's energy volume, which fell 17 percent.

CME has complained that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission failed to give clear guidance on how new rules would affect users of CME's Clearport unit, which deals in energy swaps.

"The Clearport and energy items in particular show the disruption that CME experiences from the Dodd-Frank issues," Macquarie Securities analyst Ed Ditmire said.

Trading at Clearport, one of CME's most lucrative operations, was down 36 percent in the month.

By contrast, ICE's energy volume fell 5 percent in November.

ICE fared better than CME in this area because of the recent introduction of options and because trading in the type of oil in which it specializes - Brent - has had faster growth than the U.S.-based WTI crude futures that are CME's biggest energy contracts, Macquarie's Ditmire said.

Overall, CME volume fell 16 percent from a year earlier to 11 million contracts a day in November, the Chicago-based exchange operator said in a statement.

The biggest drag came from a 22 percent drop interest-rate trading that continued a decline stemming from the Federal Reserve's pledge to keep rates low for several more years. With a stable outlook on rates, investors see less reason to hedge their interest-rate risk.

Trading in ICE's futures and options fell 5 percent overall from a year earlier, to a daily average of 3.2 million, the company said in a statement.

ICE's agricultural commodities products were its lone bright spot, with sugar trading up nearly 11 percent.

(Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)



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