ICE Futures Abu Dhabi reports spike in trading

ICE Futures Abu Dhabi reports spike in trading

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Intercontinental Exchange has reported a jump in trading activity on its Gulf-based crude oil market three years after launch.

The US group said on Friday trading activity at ICE Futures Abu Dhabi has been ticking up this year, with March’s average daily volume (ADV) of 21,500 lots up 152% on the same month last year.

IFAD, which launched in March 2021, traded 1.1 million contracts of Murban crude oil futures in the first three months of this year, an increase of 120% on the first quarter of last year.

Gary King, the president of IFAD, said: “Three years on from launch, we, together with ADNOC and our partners, have built a truly global Murban futures market which sits alongside benchmark crude grades Brent and Midland WTI.”

IFAD is backed by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and nine oil firms: BP, GS Caltex, INPEX, JXTG, PetroChina, PTT, Shell, TOTSA (Total) and Vitol.

King added: “ADNOC’s vision to move the official selling price for Murban to forward pricing based on ICE Murban futures opened Murban to a global audience and it now has international reach and relevance in the global crude market, further reflected by Bloomberg’s decision to launch a Murban crude oil index aimed at tracking the performance of Murban futures.”

King, who was previously the chief executive of the Dubai Mercantile Exchange, became president of IFAD in late 2022, replacing Jamal Oulhadj who was the IFAD chief at launch.

ICE also said IFAD had a record trading volume day on Monday April 15 when the exchange traded 36,500 lots while open interest on the Murban futures is up a third this year.

Commodity exchanges have reported strong volumes in recent months, partly linked to the problems in the Middle East.

The LME, owned by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, reported first quarter trading volumes up 31% while ICE’s commodities segment’s ADV was up a quarter in the first three months of this year.

Saudi Tadawul Group reached in January an agreement to acquire a one third stake in the Dubai Mercantile Exchange, a deal that will see the Saudi market and CME Group become the largest, equal shareholders in the Dubai oil exchange.

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