CME Group plans office in Ukraine

By Dow Jones Newswires
Posted Thursday at 8:08 a.m.

Exchange operator CME Group Inc. intends to set up an office in Ukraine by the end of the year, the country’s agriculture minister said Thursday, in a move he hopes will help to boost the country’s status as a world agricultural power.

Mykolay Prisyazhnyuk told Dow Jones Newswires the head of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is coming to Kiev in May to continue discussions on setting up a branch here. They are “very close” to opening a new office, he said.

Prisyazhnyuk has been chomping at the bit to get the futures market giant to develop a Black Sea grain exchange in a bid to help both producers and international traders hedge their bets in Ukraine’s market.

CME has reportedly been in talks with Russian and Ukrainian officials since last autumn around the idea of helping set up a regional grain market, involving Russia’s existing exchanges. But Prisyazhnyuk said he hopes that 10 months of negotiations will bear fruit by the end of 2011.

He said he hopes the market will become more “civilized” and investors will have guarantees their “investment will be provided for” with an exchange in the region. Producers will be able to “receive money by way of forward futures” in order to boost investment in their crop.

A spokesman for CME Group said that while the exchange operator is “not currently looking to open an office” in Ukraine, “we are looking at the region to expand.”

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