CME Group hires former Liffe soft commodity specialists
By Sarah McFarlane and Nigel Hunt
LONDON, April 26 (Reuters) - CME Group, the dominant exchange in global grains and oilseeds trading but not prominent in coffee, cocoa and sugar, said on Friday that it has hired two soft commodity specialists.
Peter Blogg and Eric Hasham had in the past worked on soft commodity contracts for NYSE Liffe, the commodity trading arm of NYSE Euronext. These contracts include cocoa, coffee and sugar.
The CME declined to comment on whether the hires related to any plans it might have to expand in soft commodity markets.
CME Group, through its Chicago Board of Trade subsidiary, has long provided the global benchmark for prices of grains and oilseeds with its contracts for corn, wheat, soybeans, soybean oil and soybean meal.
Dealers say the IntercontinentalExchange Inc's agreement to buy NYSE Euronext could create an opportunity for the CME if any contracts are spun-off.
The deal is still subject to European Union antitrust approval, which market players say might require some NYSE Liffe contracts to be sold.
The CME could also explore launching its own rival soft commodity contracts.
Traders and brokers on NYSE Liffe soft agricultural commodity markets have expressed concern that ICE's takeover of their contracts may create a near monopoly as the ICE and Liffe exchanges together make up the vast majority of global cocoa, coffee and sugar derivatives trading.
EU antitrust regulators will examine the takeover, in line with a request from the exchange operators themselves, a spokesman for the European Commission said earlier this week.
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