8 Oct 2010

New dairy futures market launched

12:21 pm on 8 October 2010

NZX says it may take a few months for investors to become confident in its new dairy futures market, which launched on Friday.

No trades have yet taken place.

Futures markets let buyers and sellers lock in a price for delivery at a later date, helping them cope with commodities that tend to be volatile in price, like wheat, sugar, coffee, corn and cattle.

NZX says its futures market will be the first in the world to trade whole milk powder, and will use Fonterra's monthly online auction price as a reference point.

Head of markets Fiona MacKenzie says NZX has spent two years setting up the market, and parties from around the world have been following its development closely.

But she does not expect that interest to translate to a flood of trading on the first day.

"Derivative products take a while to build liquidity," she said. "They are effectively listed forward products.

"Expect to see a handful of trades at the start and liquidity will build over time."

The dairy future market will trade between 8am - 4pm in New Zealand to overlap with the commodity trading hubs of Chicago and Singapore.

Ms MacKenzie says futures for skim milk power and anhydrous milk fat will be added to the market over time.