milan / reuters / Europe’s first futures market for durum wheat, used mainly to produce pasta in the continent and couscous in North Africa and the Middle East, was launched January 21.
Borsa Italiana, controlled by the London Stock Exchange, was due to launch the durum futures in November but the date was put back for market conditions.
The new AGREX futures, which will be traded on the Italian Derivatives Exchange Market (IDEM), will trade in 50-tonne contracts, with five maturities available at any one time.
The delivery months will be March, May, September and December.
Italian pasta maker Barilla advised the Italian exchange on the launch of the market.
Futures could be useful for Barilla and other big durum wheat buyers to help cope with volatile grain prices. Traders have said the new index could find it hard to build enough liquidity and trading volumes.
Grain futures generally take a long time to attract a large trading base, and the minimal volumes seen since the launch of durum futures in Canada at the start of the year have highlighted the difficulties in the niche grain market.