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EU watchdog extends retail ban on 'binary options'

LONDON (Reuters) - A European Union ban on selling "binary options" to retail customers will be extended for three months from January 2, the bloc's securities markets watchdog said on Friday.

The European Securities and Markets Authority introduced the ban in July this year, saying the products, which give an investor exposure to price movements in securities without owning the underlying asset, leave retail customers facing potentially significant losses.

"ESMA has carefully considered the need to extend the intervention measure currently in effect. It considers that a significant investor protection concern related to the offer of binary options to retail clients continues to exist," ESMA said in a statement.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Hugh Lawson)