The once lonely market of plastics futures is growing more crowded, with the latest offering to come from the CME Group (Chicago). The CME Group, which is comprised of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Chicago Board of Trade, and New York Mercantile Exchange, announced that it will offer polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) contracts starting in January 2009. The contracts will be listed for 24 consecutive months, be 47,000 lb in size, and offer physical delivery in Houston.
In May 2005, the London Metal Exchange (LME) launched its plastics futures contracts for PP and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE). Earlier this year, the Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd. (MCX) and the Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX) launched their own plastics futures contracts, with PP and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) at the MCX and the DGCX marketing low-density polyethylene (LDPE), HDPE, LLDPE, and PP contracts.
In May, the LME altered its futures contracts, eliminating a discounting structure that it felt impeded participation by financial players, and in June 2007, it created regional contracts. The moves aimed to boost participation, and consequently, liquidity in the markets. The greatest activity has been seen in the LME’s North American PP contract, which on Oct. 31 had 31 opening stock, or contracts taken, for 767.25 tonnes. LLDPE followed, with 10 opening stock positions for 247.5 tonnes, with two opening positions for the LLDPE Asia contract, and none for LLDPE and PP Europe and PP Asia. This activity is dwarfed by the LME’s offerings in non-ferrous metals, like aluminum.