Grain group urges pit trade halt if CME electronic platform crashes

Reuters

By Karl Plume

CHICAGO, May 16 (Reuters) - CME Group should temporarily suspend open-outcry trading if its electronic trading platform crashes and reopen for a brief after-hours session if the system is restored later that day, a grain industry group said.

The call follows last month's worst-ever outage on the world's top agricultural commodities exchange.

CME should also develop emergency procedures in case of any future outages of its Globex platform, which handles 95 percent of trading volume in agricultural futures, the National Grain and Feed Association said in a letter to the exchange operator dated May 12 and posted to its website.

A Globex outage in several of CME's agricultural futures markets on April 8 channeled a heavy volume of orders to its depleted open-outcry trading "pits" near the close of trading, typically a very busy point of the day.

"Many firms have transitioned their systems to the electronic platform and are not prepared to try to execute large order volumes through the pits, which in turn are no longer prepared to handle such volume," MJ Anderson, chairman of NGFA's risk management committee, said in the letter.

"By suspending trading, all participants will be ensured fair access to markets, and confusion as to positions will be limited," he said.

CME declined to comment on the feedback but said it regularly discusses such issues with its customers and clients.

The NGFA's recommendations echoed those of many traders following the April 8 outage, which stopped electronic trading in 31 agricultural markets and which CME blamed on a technical fault.

A Reuters analysis of CME trading data showed that pit traders largely succeeded in replacing screen trade in some markets.

(Editing by Chris Reese)

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