Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has set new trading and open interest records in its Midland West Texas Intermediate (WTI) contract which the US group has linked to the inclusion in May of the US barrel into the European Brent benchmark.
ICE’s Houston Midland WTI contract (ICE HOU) has reached unprecedented levels this month. Open interest hit 33,520 lots on July 12, passing the previous record on July 7. Daily trading volume was 32,210 contracts on July 20, beating the 30,711 lots on the previous day and marking the contract's third consecutive record day of trading.
“Since plans were finalised to include Midland WTI into the Brent complex, we’ve seen consistent growth in ICE HOU as customers use the contract to take physical delivery to two of the biggest terminals in Houston, both of which have been approved by Platts to deliver into the Brent complex,” Jeff Barbuto, head of global oil markets at ICE, said in a statement. “ICE HOU provides transparent pricing for the vast majority of Midland WTI barrels that make it to the Houston market, while offering optionality that customers cannot access via alternative derivatives based on assessments which only capture a small part of the Houston market.”
ICE said it has seen over 35 million barrels of Midland crude switching into HOU futures from swap positions, with over 5 million barrels going to delivery each month across the Magellan East Houston and Enterprise Crude Houston terminals.
Both ICE and CME Group reported record trading across their crude oil markets in May, as the change in the Brent basket took effect. Commodity index provider Argus started including Midland WTI in the basket of six eligible crude grades for Brent from May 2 while Platts added WTI Midland into its dated Brent assessment for June 2023 deliveries.
ICE’s flagship Brent futures and options open interest is up 13% year-on-year at 4.95 million contracts on July 24, according to the exchange. Average daily trading volume in the product suite is up 5% this year compared to the same period last year, at 1.2 million lots.
Exchanges have been reporting rebounds in commodity volumes as markets recover from disruption linked to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with year-on-year increases in the segment reported last month.
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